Day 298: Freedom Isn’t Free

War. Evil. Tyranny. Hate.

Nobody likes it, but it exists.

Yin and Yang.

My generation really felt it on 9-11 and we felt it again at the Boston marathon, just recently. Jeff’s grandad felt it and lived it in 1944, and survived WWII. He is a hero.

To visit the war sites around Normandy leaves you wondering and thinking and imagining what it could have been like for the soldiers and their families. The sense of fear and loss is unimaginable, even when you see it. History is not my passion yet I know I need to understand and learn more and continue to make the connections. I also like to focus on the positive, but I’m not naive. There are bad people and we cannot allow evil to be stronger than the good.

“For no one is to forget the heroism of those men who defied the impossible for our freedom.”

Freedom isn’t free. We have so much to learn from those who serve in our military. These men and women can teach us what it means to be selfless, to sacrifice, to keep moving forward despite the struggles, to be disciplined and compassionate, focused and respectful. The people that fought for our freedom gave up their freedom, the comforts of their homes and families, to serve others. And so many gave up their lives.

We can be advocates of goodwill. We can create peace in our time by following their examples. We can and should serve others and show compassion and be a little less self centered. By giving of our time and resources, we can help create peace in our time, right now.

How can we be of service? I think when we chose to serve others we actually create joy and peace for ourselves as well. We have nothing to lose.

Today we visited Grandcamp Maisy, Ranger Museum, Maisy Battery, Utah Beach, and St. Mere Eglise. We also saw Brecourt Manor. Here are a few pictures from these historical sites.

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Wishing you peace and love.

Goodnight, from Mont Saint-Michel.

Day 108: Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial

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Today I am thankful for my husband and his passion for military history and geography and for sharing his passion with our family. I am thankful that he knows his way around and wanted to take us to see where General Patton was buried.

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In two days it will be Veteran’s Day and every year he takes the kids to a veteran’s cemetery or memorial so that we can be reminded of the sacrifice that was made for our freedom, and to honor his Granddad who served in WWII and survived.

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Every time we go, I get teary eyed and feel so emotional for the men (and women) who have fought in war and for their families and loved ones, who have also sacrificed. Today was no different.

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It was a foggy and misty day and seeing the cemetery in this light and with this ambience had an even bigger impact.

We imagined the soldiers fighting in and around Luxembourg with weather conditions worse than ours. It was quiet and peaceful and eerie. We also visited the German cemetery and noticed quite a few differences. Charlie and I made a few observations:

1. There were Crosses and the Star of David marking different burial sites, but there were several more crosses than stars.

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2. The Jewish tombstones had little stones on top. These are a custom to show that a family member had visited.
3. The names of the men came from several different states.

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4. One man died on Christmas Day.
5. There were names that represented several different nationalities.
6. The American cemetery was perfectly groomed and balanced and neat. The German cemetery was not well maintained and had a dreary and dark feel to it, even though it was still beautiful and quiet.

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7. The American tombstones had one name per tomb and were made of smooth, white stone. The German tombstones had four names per stone and were made of a rough, dark stone.

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8. A few of the tombs had beautiful bouquets.

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9. General Patton’s tomb was at the head of the cemetery, almost like he was looking over all his men. It was in such an appropriate place.

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10. The American flag was flying and church bells rang out. I felt at home and was surprisingly so happy to see and hear colors and sounds from home.

Thank you to all the people who do good everyday, who choose the harder right, and create peace and love in their homes, in their community, in the military and wherever they go.

Namaste and peace.