Saturday, June 6, 2009
Sixty-five years ago today, my grandfather, for whom I am named, helped take Normandy beach, more specifically Omaha beach, as it was code-named. He was a part of the seventh-wave of landing crafts to hit the beach. When I found that out, I was stunned. My research has shown that there was a 99% death rate for the first-wave of landings and that decreased by 1% with every successive wave. So in the seventh-wave 93% to 92% of the men around my grandfather died. Its amazing and blessed that he made it. He often spoke of how the snipers liked to use the red cross on his helmet as a target, so he wore it riding high.
I am one of the only people in the family he told his war-stories to, certainly the one who has heard the most. Could be I am the one who asked the most, but it also took him until the 80's to be able to talk about it.
He's been gone ten years now and I keep meaning to put together a novel to tell his story, so that my family members who are not familiar with it or have at best only heard small pieces. I am making an absolute goal this year of getting it done. (Along with everything else)
He was a medic and the only weapon he carried was his knife, using it to both save and take lives. I honor him as both a warrior and a healer. Love you Grandpa