My June 6th


We’re coming up on June 6th, the 70th anniversary of D-Day.  I’ve been watching (read that, wallowing in) documentaries about that day.  The other night, it was a PBS documentary about the 2008 dedication in Normandy of the first memorial to the Navy’s contribution on D-Day.  There were memorials to all the other armed forces involved in Operation Overlord, but the Navy had been overlooked.

My father was in the Navy during WW II, and he drove one of those landing craft back and forth all day on June 6, 1944. His journal says it was Omaha Beach  I know it’s not that simple.  Some of his memories from the only time he spoke of that day are here:

In October, my father will have been gone for twelve years.  He had been gone for six years by the time that Navy memorial went up.  He was alive for the 50th anniversary of D-Day, in 1994.  He said he’d like to go back to Normandy some day.  He’d never been out of the country, except in the Navy during WW II.  Why didn’t I go to Normandy with him?

I can’t visit his grave.  My father doesn’t have a grave; he and my mother were cremated and their ashes scattered over the desert and over mountains respectively.

So next Friday, which will be the 70th anniversary of D-Day, I’m going to visit a cemetery four states from where my father lived, and I’m going to lay flowers on a stranger’s grave.  I’ll look for a grave that may be a little neglected.  It would be nice if I could find a neglected one with a birth year of 1922.  I’ll find the right one, and I’ll leave flowers for my father.

I’m not dutiful, or conventional, or sentimental, and I thought I’d never live to see the day…I wish my father had.

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5 Responses to My June 6th

  1. sashley13 says:

    I’ll go to Normandy with you. The American Cemetery there is the most touching (too weak a word) place I have ever seen. Dennis’ Uncle Eddie was there that day too, in the Navy. His ship was sunk, but he survived that and another sinking ship as well. The camouflage smoke that the Navy shot out to hide the invading flotillas was mistakenly placed behind his ship rather than in front. He lived to be 82 – always proud of his service as a Veteran – and never left this country again either. Never got in another boat either except for the day his nephew insisted he ride around in the rubber dink in the Stamford Harbor. The engine conked out and they had to be towed. Was he unlucky? Or maybe just VERY lucky.


  2. Diane, my Dad also was in the navy and drove the boat that dropped the GI’s off on the beach on D-Day….d giuliano


  3. Akashic Liz says:

    Diane, my dad (my mum’s husband) survived WW2, although he was a Japanese POW, in Burma, having been part of the team of men that built the Bridge over the River Kwai (as far as I can tell – there’s no-one left to confirm or deny this now!). I’ve not yet visited Normandy, but I have been to the American Cemetery in Manila, Philippines, which also has stark white marble headstones as far as the eye can see, with thousands of names of men lost at sea during the Battle of Midway. It is truly a humbling experience to stand and see such a vast expanse of shining monuments to the fallen. It really makes you feel the awe. Thanks for this piece.


  4. Ruth Bundy says:

    My words of gratitude to you for sharing this story and to your father for his service seem inadequate. However, I was moved to tears reading this. What a great man, husband and father he was, not to mention his service, especially during D-Day. I loved that you included his picture – it was a real treat getting to actually see him. I had an uncle in WWII and his experiences, although rarely shared are similar and it brought back many great memories and tears for these men who fought so hard for our freedoms! Please tell you dad thanks from me when you pay your respects.


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