Return to Saint Laurent Sur Mer
The haunting sound of taps told the battle monument story , Soldiers behind these walls rest in honored glory.
Entering the cemetery gate I was here to commemorate an Anniversary of war, how vivid it seemed as if in a dream my return to forty-four.
Here in this lovely memorial in Normandy by the sea, I looked out on the graves of soldiers as far as the eye could see.
Many beautiful flowers surround the graveside plots, but none seem more appropriate than the forget-me-nots.
The white crosses and stars are everywhere, here in Saint Laurent Sur Mer, each has a poignant story to tell, they all hold a hero who passed through hell.
Could it be five decades ago that thousands stormed the beaches below? Like a western showdown at high noon D-Day was here on the sixth of June.
Europe waited in breathless anticipation, The mighty allied armies and the joy of liberation.
Then came the start of Operation Overlord with landings at Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno and Sword. On Omaha Beach in Normandy, France H hour began the first wave advance.
A fearful barrage of shells kept falling all around, men died in the choppy water or on the sandy ground. Cursing and praying they drew their last breath, courageously keeping a rendevous with death.
There were so many bodies piled high upon the beach, that many thought the high ground was a goal they could not reach.
Then out of the terrible fury of unrelenting battle they thundered to the high ground like a wild stampede of cattle.
Now this ground is sacred where they found eternal rest, beneath their cross or star they remain the Nation's best.
No sentries are needed here where guardian angels dwell, God took away their fear as he caught them where they fell. Here in this marble orchard where seeds of valor were sown you may find the noblest saints of all though some remain unknown.
And when the harvest is gathered in heaven's final edition, The Book of Life will know the names of all who made this mission.
As I turned to leave a voice seemed to call after me , please don't forget the price they paid to keep our country free. Greater love has no man than to give his life for others. then just before I reached the gate I turned to my sleeping brothers.
Humbly with my head bowed I said this little prayer: Dear God bring multitudes to visit Saint Laurent Sur Mer.
Author: George Dewey Roberts, Jr.*
*Medic, 29th Division – Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944. The poem was written for the 50th Anniversary of D-Day.