Monday, June 6, 2011

D-Day Remembered

Sixty-seven 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 only 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 had heard the most. Could be I am the one who asked him the most, but it also took him until the mid 80's to be able to talk about it.

He's been gone twelve 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 can get a little more insight to his sacrifices and experiences. I currently have a few snatches of "My Arm of Mercy" written but it needs to be completed.

David E. West was a medic and the only weapon he carried was his knife, using it to both save and take lives. I honor him and all the rest of our Vet's as both warriors and healers.

Love you Grandpa


Paul R. McNamee said...


That's great, and I love the title you have for his story.

This weekend Discovery (not History, once again, go figure) had a 2hr special 'Surviving D-Day', and its focus was Omaha beach and how certain men managed to make it. It also highlighted just how tough that beach was in particular.

I hadn't planned on watching it, but it sucked me in.

Honors to your grandfather.

Charles Gramlich said...

It seems a lot of folks from that war didn't want to talk about it until they were getting older. I'm glad you got to hear the stories, though.

David J. West said...

Thanks Paul-I missed that-I'll have to make sure I catch the repeat.

Thats true Charles, I heard more about it that my Dad and Uncles ever did.

Angie said...

That is very touching. Hooray for him! I hope you do write his story someday. That's awesome.

David J. West said...

Thanks Angie-it is coming, slowly but surely.

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

You have to write his story. Sounds awesome. I wish I'd ask my father more about his service during that war. He made torpedoes in Key Port, Washington. Do it! (don't mean to be pushy, but yeah, do it.)

David J. West said...

No worries Kathy I am.

Trep said...

Thanks for remembering D-day. My grandfather was in it too, he hit Utah beach. I knew the losses on Omaha were ridiculously high, but I had no idea they were that high.

David J. West said...

Trep-yeah, like I said I was amazed he survived. Thanks