Memorial Day is a holiday were lots of people travel to cities like Miami to have a good time. But, we cannot forget the meaning of this day, which is to honor and remember the fallen soldiers of the United States military. Many people will visit cemeteries and memorials on this day. How this day came to be is uncertain, however it’s believed to come from the tradition of placing flowers on the graves of the soldiers who died in the Civil War. It was only after the world wars where it became more generalized.
About 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to live in London for one year. While there I travelled extensively, since it’s so easy and relatively inexpensive to travel from the UK to other countries in Europe. I took a few days off from work and took the ferry from Dover, England to the Normandy region in France. Normandy is so beautiful and with so much history everywhere you go. One of the most important and largest seaborne invasion in history, D-Day, took place in this coast.
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is located overlooking Omaha Beach in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France. It is the most visited cemetery in the world. Most of the soldiers buried there, 9,388 in total including 307 unknown, were killed during the invasion of Normandy and ensuing military operation in WWII. The cemetary is divided into ten plots forming a Latin cross with a chapel in the middle. In the center of the memorial, there’s a 22-foot bronze statue named, The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves by Donald De Lue.
Walking along the beaches and visiting the cemetery, personally, was incredibly sad. Seeing all those crosses and knowing that so many soldiers, and most of them young men and women, lost their lives, is heartbreaking. Even now as I write this post my eyes fill with tears just remembering the day I visited. All I could do was sit down by the memorial overlooking the cemetery and pray for the soldiers and families and hope that something like this never happens again.
On this Memorial Day, please take a moment to remember those who were lost in battle. If you have military family members who lost their lives, go visit them or go to a memorial. Or whether you know one or not, just take a moment of silence at 3pm for the National Moment of Remembrance. Be thankful to all fallen soldiers and extend you thoughts and prayers to their families.
Thank you for your service! ….. Elisa.