Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Remembering D-Day 65 Years Later

The Greatest Generation ... and what a generation they all are! Friday evening, June 5th, flipping through the television channels trying to find something decent to watch, I came across the beginning of "Saving Private Ryan". Like many times before I decided to watch it, trying to imagine my Dad 65 years later, walking across the green grass of the American cemetery in Normandy, France like "Ryan" did in the movie. I wondered what Dad would have thought today looking out into the calm of the English Channel at 85 years of age. Would he still see the burning LCI 92 he was on that never made it in ... his comrades laying on Omaha dead, wounded and screaming out for help ... the clear waters of the Channel today instead of the bloody waters he witnessed at 19. Would he feel peace today as opposed to hatred and war ... smell clean air over smoke, fire and death. These questions and more were racing through my mind as I watched the beginning of this movie. For now, my questions will remain unanswered because he has been gone for over 7 years now but my instincts tell me that it would all come flooding back to him as it did to those veterans who returned to Normandy for the 65th anniversary of D-Day.


Today I sit in deep thought as I review in my mind the "celebrations" seen on the news this past Saturday, June 6th. Seeing the raw emotions on the faces of those veterans that made the journey back to Omaha Beach... listening to their stories as tears streamed down their faces... watching them point to the exact spot on the beach in which they came ashore was overwhelming to say the least. Seeing these frail men today standing tall, or in some cases sitting, saluting our American flag with the same courage, admiration and love of country they had 65 years ago.. their convictions still just as strong today, was amazing to watch. I am in awe of the legacy the "Greatest Generation" has left us and am proud to be the daughter of one of it's "members". Just as my Dad made a commitment to honor, serve and protect this great country of ours, I vow to keep his memory alive for my children and grand children - they will always know the veteran side of Grandpa! As for my Dad .. my hero ~I will always miss him but he lives on within me in what I do, how I treat others, how I face life's challenges and being one of the co-founders of Heavens Heroes as we support today's troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, or where ever they happen to be deployed--it's the right thing to do and I know Dad would be proud of the work we do.

God bless our veterans... past, present and future!

2 comments:

First Most said...

:)

Another great read. Love you so much!

- kev

Jack said...

Hi. It seems we have something in common -- our fathers were in the 293rd JASCO in WWII. My dad was Lt. Ted Chuhran and he served as XO of the 293rd. He passed away in open heart surgey in 1969 when I was in the fourth grade, but I identify very much with the qualities you used to describe your dad. In dad's honor, I co-host a radio show -- The Sons of the American Legion Radio Report -- that discusses military and veteran's topics each Monday from 2:30-3 p.m. Eastern Time. The show can be heard at WVOX.com; archived editions of the show (including the June 1 edition when I discussed dad's part in D-Day) can be heard at www.legionpost50ny.com.

Back in the 1970s, I found a binder buried in the attic entitled "Notes on Tales to Tell to My Grandchildren". It contains typed versions of almost every letter dad wrote to mom during his military service. Dad wrote 5 or 6 times each week, so it provides an chronicle of what the war was like for the troops on the ground. It also contains a variety of mementos -- news clippings, photos, official orders, military insignia, etc. -- and, along with dad's dress tunic, the binder is one of my most cherished possessions.

If you would like to communicate further about the 293rd JASCO, feel free to eMail me at silberfile1@gmail.com

Best wishes for you, your dad and your family.

John Chuhran