for the eightieth anniversary of the Landings, the humility and emotion of the veterans | EUROtoday

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“In every old person, there is a young person who wonders what happened,” mentioned a wierd formulation. Well, on the night of June 6, returning by bus from a protracted day of commemorations of the Landing in Normandy, a handful of centenarian American veterans, each groggy and exhilarated, requested themselves the query: what did he do? What might have occurred, in eighty years, for us to seek out ourselves like this, applauded by the crowds, glorified by the leaders, made heroes?

Emmanuel Macron awards Arlester Brown, American veteran of the Second World War, the title of Knight of the Legion of Honor during the ceremony at Omaha Beach, in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer (Calvados), on June 6, 2024.

How the hell to elucidate, mentioned Arlester Brown, 100 years because the 1er April, this great turnaround within the state of affairs which signifies that a younger black soldier, landed in Normandy in June 1944 inside a unit liable for stewardship and laundry, uncovered inside the framework of his personal military to racism , to humiliation, to segregation, is embellished with the Legion of Honor by the President of France, in entrance of a number of monarchs and an viewers of heads of state? “Life definitely has some nice surprises in store, he notes. This day was so bright! All these smiles, these cheers, this fraternal communion around the values ​​of peace and freedom, frankly, what joy! »

In uncertain political times, the international community knew how to show that it stood together, that it hated dictatorship, that it did not compromise with the demands of democracy. “It is there, the message of D-Day, he said. The peace ! The peace so dearly won and which must be defended without compromise or cowardice. Biden and Macron have been firm on support for Ukraine. So much the better ! Let us not repeat the cowardice of 1939.”

Tears dried by the wind

So what occurred? additionally asks Felix Maurizio, 99 years previous, so fragile, so upset, so shaky, who had not returned to Normandy since he was 19. Life handed so rapidly, regardless of the splinters, the nightmares, the visions that the a long time have by no means managed to ward off… Eighty years in the past, to the day, he was a younger sailor on board a full barge. of troopers destined to land within the first wave at Omaha Beach. It was as much as him to decrease the ramp on the entrance of the machine in order that the boys threw themselves into the water, beneath fireplace from the Germans.

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The sea was tough and the boat was itemizing. Felix Maurizio was scared to demise, tears blurring his eyes. And as the primary GIs, rifles in entrance, rushed in direction of the seaside, he all of the sudden noticed his brother and gasped. “Salvatore!” he had time to shout. Keep your head down ! » The boy disappeared within the chaos of the seaside. Felix had no information for a lot of months. It was solely on the finish of the battle that his mother and father informed him that his brother had survived the carnage at Omaha and different battles.

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