Thursday, 6 June 2013

D-Day....please God, no more wars

Wounded men from the Ist Infantry at Omaha Beach

June 6th 1944 and the allied forces made the move that would result in a German defeat and the end of the Second World War in Europe.

The Normandy landings had no right to succeed, governed, as they were by poor weather and the inevitable human error of poor information and even poorer judgement.

But the landings did succeed with a cost of many lives of young service men from Britain, the USA and Canada as well as many Commonwealth and allied countries.

This was a sacrifice made by many for whom the war in Europe must have seemed a strange cause to die for.

But, we do not forget that sacrifice and we continue to visit the cemeteries of Normandy (including the German one which is, particularly grim) to offer our prayers and give thanks to those who did not return home.

Three weeks gone and the combatants gone
returning over the nightmare ground
we found the place again, and found
the soldier sprawling in the sun.

The frowning barrel of his gun
overshadowing. As we came on
that day, he hit my tank with one
like the entry of a demon.

Look. Here in the gunpit spoil
the dishonoured picture of his girl
who has put: Steffi. Vergissmeinnicht.
in a copybook gothic script.

We see him almost with content,
abased, and seeming to have paid
and mocked at by his own equipment
that's hard and good when he's decayed.

But she would weep to see today
how on his skin the swart flies move;
the dust upon the paper eye
and the burst stomach like a cave.

For here the lover and killer are mingled
who had one body and one heart.
And death who had the soldier singled
has done the lover mortal hurt. 

Keith Douglas

Killed in action in Normandy 9th June 1944

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