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Sacred Spaces - D-Day Remembrance

I have an odd affinity for cemeteries. In high school, they were the best hide and seek parks ever. Yet, over time, my love for them changed. They are sacred spaces between us and them. Whoever them may be. Because whoever they were, they are more us than we know.

Throughout my adulthood, I have traversed many amazing cemeteries. From Forest Lawn in California to the Halls of Westminster Abbey. I have eaten a picnic lunch at a corner cemetery in Concord, Massachusettes. The tombstones so aged the carved names and dates are illeligible. Leaving me wondering what or who was buried there.

I have visited National Historic museums from Boston to Gettysburg. Reading, walking, and thanking those whose bodies have long decayed, for risking their existance so that I might have a chance to make the world a better place.

Above them all my favorite cemetery and sacred space is found in Normandy, France. No one I knew fought or died there. Yet, somehow that precipitous battle, now fondly remembered as D-Day, holds sway over my soul like no other.

Perhaps it's hold on me harkens back to my infancy when my parents took me there. Even if I was far too young to remember. Perhaps it is the luxury of living in the shadow of that war. Of knowing a father-in-law who never fought in the war, but he trained slews of kids who did. Or perhaps it is from the recollections my grandmother shared about brown outs, ration stamps, and air raid sirens.

Whatever the reason, Normandy and its surrounding cemeteries hold my heart.

Tomorrow marks the 80th anniversary of the heroic allied beach attack, known then as Operation Overlord. On that grey day the fate of the world hung in the balance. Unlike all other wars, the outcome of the events of June 6, 1944 reached farther than any other war in history. Today, we are still living with its effects.

Over the next twenty-four hours, my heart will be revisiting the sacred spaces of Normandy. The beaches, the bunkers, the towns, and the cemeteries - for there are more than one. Each representing a different side of the battle. One without the other would not exist.

Finally, when this weekend fades into the distance, my sights will be set on one final trip to Normandy. To watch my son, who has cherished the heroism of D-Day, take his walk through the sacred spaces of Normandy.

If a friend or family member of yours served in World War II, I offer my sincere gratitude.

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