Dave is part of the Liberty Jump Team (facebook too!).  He first jumped with them for the commemoration of Operation Market Garden (see also:Hot & Smokey).

Liberty Jump Team honors World War II heroes, veterans of other wars and foreign conflicts and all others who have served or are serving by participating in static-line parachute operations in the United States and the European Theater of Operations, utilizing vintage C-47s.

This last week we went to Normandy, France to commemorate D-Day: The day during the Second World War on which Allied forces invaded northern France by means of beach landings in Normandy.

Normandy is an absolutely beautiful part of France. Just breath-taking. I did not know.  I know Normandy only from the WWII movies, especially Band of Brothers & Saving Private Ryan.  I knew it as horrible, bloody, cold, muddy, awful.

In reality, now, it’s so hard to imagine the terrible battles here.  The many young lives lost here.  I can’t imagine these same waters, here at Omaha Beach, stained red with young boys blood.  Now, just like this past Saturday, the thought brings a lump to my throat and pain to my heart.

The Omaha Beach memorial is in two parts, this gorgeous free-style sculpture on the beach, and a bigger, stone memorial up on the breakwall.  We went in between ceremonies, with few people on the beach.  It was quiet, peaceful, beautiful.  If you close your eyes, and listen to the sea, and put yourself in the boots of our young soldiers, you can almost feel them, almost hear them.  It is a powerful feeling.