“Older men declare war.
But it is youth that must fight and die.”
Backing up a bit from yesterday, I should have actually started our story here—
here in the historical town of Bayeux, France.
We had journeyed by train from Paris to Bayeux where we would be staying for three days.
Bayeux is most notably known for being the home to the Bayeux Tapestry…
I spent a good bit of one Art History class in college studying the Bayeux Tapestry…
seeing it up close and personal was a treasured treat.
According to Wikipedia, the tapestry is an embroidered cloth nearly 70 meters (230 ft)
long and 50 centimeters (20 in) tall,
which depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William,
Duke of Normandy, and Harold, Earl of Wessex,
later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings.
It is thought to date to the 11th century, within a few years after the battle.
It tells the story from the point of view of the conquering Normans,
but is now agreed to have been made in England.
And so it was becoming apparent that battle and conquest have each been a part of
this Norman coast’s history…
As our purpose for being in Normandy was to visit the sites from a different generation’s conquest…
those areas of the northwestern coast of France which have become seared into human history
for simply being the right place and the right location on an infamous June day in 1944.
It was to be a key and pivotal location in order to guarantee Western Civilization’s
freedom from tyranny…security from tyranny that came at such a tremendous cost to
a cost that many of our current society’s cultural left demigods have long since
We began our quest with a visit to the German Cemetary.
Normandy is not just the home to the American war dead but to
the British, French, Canadian, and yes, the Germans as well.
Mike, our guide, explained that the American Government made the promise to bring home
the body of any serviceman whose family requested such in order that they could bury their
loved ones on US soil— otherwise, the burial would be near to where they had died—
in a cemetery that would become known as the American D-day Cemetery—
On the other hand, the German Government following their defeat and division of
East and West, could make no such promise and therefore their dead remained in France…
with often two bodies per grave.
The ages of the German dead are young…many being in their teens or early 20’s
as this was the beginning of the end of Hitler’s reign and desperation was
now very apparent…as the ages of those who are resting in these graves
will forever remind us of the face of desperation…children dying
on the battlefield.
The American cemetery is currently maintained by the US Government…
The German cemetery, on the other hand, is maintained by the German Military.
To this day it is part of every German soldier’s responsibility to journey to Normandy to help
“keep up” the cemetery.
We were told that there was a letter found at the cemetery written by a local
middle school student.
In his letter, a letter that was written to the young men not much older than himself
and long since dead, stated that he had no ill will or bad feelings toward
these young German soldiers who had once occupied his own homeland
as they were doing what they thought was right…that being the defense of their homeland.
And so what we learned as we solemnly looked out over a sea of black crosses,
was that there are no real winners when man battles man.
Perhaps it would behoove our Nation to remember this little fact as our courntry is
so busy marking its hateful divide over both left or right.
We can see this mystical equation of joy and suffering in all the events of Christ’s life,
culminating in His Passion and death, which are neither an accident nor a postscript,
appendix, or addition, but the very consummation, the fruit and flower,
of His life. He lived backward, for he lived in order to die;
and we can understand His life only if we follow his life with our thought and think backward,
as we can understand a rose only if we look backward from the flower to the plant.
from Doors in the Walls of the World
(all pictures by Julie Cook)