Tattle Tales

Volume 4, Number 3


80th ANNIVERSARY OF D-DAY

MIRACLE ON THE BEACHES



I spent the 50th Anniversary of D-Day on the beaches in Normandy, France, with my mother hoping to find my father's grave.  We found it in the peaceful countryside 17 Km south of Caen where his tank was set aflame by a Panzer in a bloody conflict.

He lies in eternal slumber in the Polish Military Cemetery at Grainville - Langannerie where over 600 valiant soldiers are buried under grey granite crosses and miniature red roses, and adjacent to several Stars of David.

When I look at the photos my memories jump out at me to the day we also visited the American Cemetery with thousands of white crosses facing the sea.  The beaches where these brave souls met their untimely death.  Some of the men were later returned to their families in the States.

There is also a German Cemetery nearby which is not as well kept with weeds springing up amongst the overgrown grass.  150,000 men on both sides were killed on D-Day.  But on the 6th of June 1944, a miracle happened when these brave Americans ran on the sand of the beaches and scaled the cliffs of Omaha to liberate Europe from a madman.

My father fought with the 1st Polish Armoured Division, under the British command but they landed further up north at Sword Beach, fighting village to village against the heavily enforced Germans.  They were ordered to hold a hill preventing the retreating Nazis escaping back to Germany but suffered friendly fire from American bombers unable to see clearly through the fog.  Confusion, fog, noise, fire, bombings, blood everywhere!  War is hell! But the Poles held the hill.  And when they heard the squaling noise of the bagpipes from the Canadians arriving through the chaos to rescue them, having lost 350 men they yelled in Polish delight, with the Canadians speaking in English while neither side understood one word of what the other comrade was saying. 

What a logistic nightmare for the Supreme Commander General Dwight Eisenhower.  What carnage of human life!

My Darling Husband, Capt John J Sullivan US Air Force - Vietnam 2 Air Medals
My darling husband, Capt. John J. Sullivan, US Air Force, Vietnam, 2 Air Medals

 

Alinka at British Tank Mmemoria l- Normandy
Alinka at British tank memorial, Normandy

 

American Cemetery, Normandy
American Cemetery, Normandy

 

Polish Cemetery, Grainville Langannerie, France
Polish Cemetery, Grainville Langannerie, France

 

Wishing you a safe Memorial Day.

Those of us who lost dear family members in WWII, will never forget, as we bow our heads in silent prayer in homage to their heroic sacrifice.

 

Photos: Alinka Zyrmont