Ten years ago, just before the sixtieth anniversary of D-Day, my husband and I took a trip to Normandy. We stayed in the tiny fishing village of Grandcamp Maisy on the marshlands below Pointe du Hoc, a 100 foot promontory overlooking the English Channel. Because the cliff was the highest point between the beaches which came to be known as Omaha and Utah, the Germans massively fortified it.
Every morning we would have our coffee beneath a large painting depicting the US Ranger Battalion’s insanely brave assault and capture of the pointe using ropes and other mountain climbing tools.
Anyone traveling in Europe can’t help but be reminded of the war. Even a naive and often silly young woman, like Riley O’Tannen is profoundly affected by the stories she hears.
From the Graduation Present (currently out of print)
“I thought of those young kids from small-town America, about to jump from a rattletrap plane into the unknown, for that one last moment believing Hollywood crap of fame and glory, then dropping with fewer chances than a duck in a shooting arcade into an alien land, a land they’d been assured would include cheering crowds and willing women, which they would never see because they would splat like frogs into marshes filled with dung or float to earth full of bullet holes. And they were the lucky ones.”
7 thoughts on “Excerpt: In Honor of Those Boys”
Wow, that passage from the Graduation Present is really intense, JT. Very fitting way to remember this sad anniversary. I would like to read more of that book.
I would be happy to send you an ebook copy – I still have your book Leaving the Beach on my Nook to read. I’m looking forward to reading it on vacation! Sounds like perfect summer reading! Jan
I too visited these beaches and was deeply moved. Today I am thinking about those who “left as boys and returned as heroes” – and even more about those young men who never returned to finish out their lives. Thanks for this post.
I am saddened that we still have not learned.
Me too, Owain.
Thank you, JT! I’d love to read it. I will add it to my summer reading list as well.
So succinct and moving.