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OMAHA BEACH (Morning June 6th 2015 6.30).jpg
She looks so beautiful…

I am sitting outside in the cool, moist sand looking out over the beach. To my left I see Pointe du Hoc and to my right the right the beach curves slightly away, the landscape flattening.

An elderly man is walking his exited dog close to the waterline, this is the only interruption to this peaceful landscape. A gentle wind curls the water, which is kept back by sand from flowing back into the sea.

Like huge puddles they reflect the grey clouds, which in higher altitudes become more yellow when they mix with the warm, beautiful summer light of the breaking day. Glorious. What a beautiful place this is. Would be.

For so many years I was wondering how it would feel to sit here. Now I know…..

As long as I can recall, every year on this exact day, June 6th, every TV station that our light brown, black, and white TV could receive would air the 1962 film “THE LONGEST DAY”. A glorified hero epic with an all-star cast, which would make Operation Overlord look like an adventure; fun, even.

That was the first time I heard of Omaha Beach. But even though I was young I could feel that there was so much more to it.

I started to read about what happened there, delving into as many books I could lay my hands on. It was interesting to experience, how the history itself developed over time, the account becoming increasingly bloody over the years.

It was as if the reality of Omaha Beach’s history was finally becoming an accepted, yet inconvenient, truth. Europe had tried to forget what had happened, and the US wanted to move on. Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “ History is a set of lies agreed upon.” 40 years after D- Day the world has seemed to agree to open that curtain and accept facts over fiction.

In 1998 the Stephen Spielberg directed “Saving Private Ryan”. The opening sequence left me traumatized. I remember that I barely could find sleep that night, and still, I had no illusions. No film can emulate reality.

In the years since, I have read many more books about the dramas unfolding on this beach and talked to men who fought here.

The first shot fired by them, marked the beginning of the last act of one of history’s worst tyrannies. For those who survived, that one morning and the weeks and month to follow would change their lives and it change the world, incontrovertibly.

This was 21 years before I was born. Barely a generation in between me and those men.

Now I sit here. Silent. Thinking of them. A lot has changed since then. My gratitude stays.

Marco Grob