In Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, I came across a small monument to an American paratrooper who fought on D-Day on an old stone water pump . It reads:
“An American paratrooper hid in the recess behind this pump. Broad-shouldered but lean, he was clearly older than his comrades, his face lined with wrinkles, his eyes pale and expressionless, his legs bent like a horseman’s. He held his rifle in the crook of his elbow, like a hunter. Lying in wait behind the pump, he fired at the panic-stricken German soldiers. He is said to have killed ten of them [from] this position, two of which at least 60 yards away on the road.”
The history of D-Day will not fade from the Normandy Coast. The monuments, cemeteries, and old ruins of the Atlantic Wall line it. Stories such as that of the American Paratrooper can be found throughout towns like Sainte-Marie—du-Mont. Old fortifications dot the local farmland. It all reminds us of the cost and sacrifices that were made to protect our freedoms. The costs that those in the Armed Forces still bear today.
If the invasion of D-Day had been unsuccessful, history would have been very different.
The walk reminded me of the great endeavors that members of the Allied Forces faced as they moved across Europe.
It reminds me that we cannot take for granted our freedoms when men and women in uniform must bear such heavy burdens to ensure them.
As long as we still have men and women who wear that uniform, it is our responsibility to ensure that we are there for them in their times of need.