Monday, June 9, 2008

D-Day Memory

Irvin in Milan WWII
Family Photo
I wanted to write something about D-Day and our service men and women. I spent this anniversary date afternoon visiting with Thelma and she asked me what the D stood for in D-Day. Neither of us could remember. But, she told me that was the day of the allied landing in Normandy.
We went on and talked some more. I asked her if she remembered how she first heard of D-Day. Was it on the radio, in newspapers, or did they have to wait on news reels and magazines?
I was pretty small, then, and don't remember exactly how or what we first heard. I imagine it was on the radio, followed by newspapers, and later I do recall seeing the newsreels at the Eloia theatre. And, of course, still later, there was always news in "Life" magazine.
A couple of years ago, I had asked Thelma what she was doing on D-Day. She said that she was on a train, headed for Houston, then to Baytown, with Helen, to visit Helen's family. They were still students at Baylor in Waco.
I am still fond of the sliced chicken sandwiches that we used to get on the train, and at bus stations. Thelma usually got a club sandwich. But, she said that they ordered sliced chicken sandwiches on this day in June. She still laughs about the sandwiches. She said that they had so little meat on them, that, the only way they could tell that these were chicken sandwiches was that they found a feather in one of the sandwiches!
Helen's mother was an art major and had decorated her home, and Helen's room , beautifully. But Thelma didn't like sleeping in the canopy bed in Helen's room. She said she felt like she was in a coffin.
They had a wonderful time, visiting with Helen's family. Her brother took them sailing. Thelma didn't know that the sail might come around, so she just missed being knocked into the water as the sail came near her, by ducking.
As they had a pleasant trip, they didn't know about the big battle that was going on overseas, D-Day. The thought of their loved ones who were far from home, at war, like her brother, Irvin, were always with them, though.
I reminded Thelma of the story she had told me of her D-Day, last weekend, but she didn't remember much of it, except about the chicken sandwich and the feather. As she grew sleepy, she couldn't remember what she had told me about D-Day a few minutes before.
Now I'm still wondering how we found out about times like D-Day.
Uncle Tom had a nice radio that had short wave on it. We would huddle close to the radio to listen to the garbled sounds and squawking, fading in and out, to try to hear of news from overseas. I don't think we ever heard anything important, though, and would eventually return to the regular programs that we listened to. And everyone just hoped and prayed for good news.
Irvin wasn't there for the D-Day landings. He was with the 88th Infantry Division, the Blue Devils. They went to North Africa, first, and he finished his days in the service in Italy.
The picture above is one of his photos, of when he was on leave in Milan. (I have to assume that is where the picture was taken as that is what is written on the picture.) I don't have any idea who the other people are behind him. I thought that the soldiers behind him might be someone that he knew because they are in other pictures during that leave.
Margaret told me that she was there for D-Day. She was an Army nurse, and had quite a lot of experiences during WWII.
Of course, General Earl Rudder, of Rudder's Rangers fame, became president of Texas A&M University. Statues of him, and things named for him, are abundant here. His widow, Margaret, belonged to my church, and she was quite well known until her death. Both are still fondly remembered in this area. The new high school is named for him.
I spent some time on the weekend, using the remote control on the tv, trying to find something to watch about D-Day and our history during WWII. I only heard one comment by Geraldo Rivera on the news. And I'm not sure that he was talking about D-Day, but, instead was interviewing a reporter who had been injured in Iraq. He thanked her, and all who have served, for their service.
There were no movies shown on tv, not even on the History Channel. I always expect to see things like "D-Day, the Sixth of June" and "The Longest Day". The closest thing I found was "Darling Lili" with Julie Andrews and Rock Hudson, and that one was about WWI. Later, there was "On The Beach", not about the WWII era, either.
And there was a news item about a new museum near those beaches at Normandy, dedicated to America and 9/11. I guess there are already museums and such remembrances about the battles of WWII in that area. I do know that there are tours and cemeteries.
I started wondering if the younger folks who pick out the programs are just forgetting about times that were so important to our history. And they are just showing anything, rather than what would be appropriate.
Instead of WWII programs, the History Channel had something about men cutting down trees or something to do with axes, that went on and on and on. I thought it was most unpatriotic.
Some of us were thinking about that day, D-Day. And some were remembering what they were doing that day in history, those who served, and those who didn't make it home.
The Texas Scottish Festival is over and I've heard, from those who were not too tired to do e-mail, that it was a wonderful weekend. There will be more about it as people rest up. I've left a link to it on my sidebar so that you can check it out.
Now, we get ready for the 19th World Wide Sketch Crawl.
You can click on the Sketch Crawl logo at the top of my page, and go to that website.
I hope that you will make your plans to go out (or even stay inside) and draw something that day.
Let me know if you need more information about participating.
I hope that you will pass this on to others to read. I encourage you to join my group if you haven't already. Just type in your e-mail address in the subscription box, or click on the form that will take you to my group, Art-By-Cecelia.
Thank your for your comments, and I'm so glad that you stopped by for a visit. If you see something that you are interested in, please let me know.

1 comment:

Casey Klahn said...

I happened on your blog and very much enjoyed seeing your relative in Milan after the war. I have the same type of photo of my dad in Venice shortly after the end in Italy.

My dad was in the Tenth Mountain Division. I took the trip with the veterans (dad is deceased) to the Florence American Cemetery two years ago. I wish you could've experienced the moving outpouring of love from the Italians in the towns of the Apennine mountains towards the veterans and our delegation.

Genuine, fresh and sincere. All generations there in those little towns revere the American GI. You should know that they LOVE your family member and (as they told me) they love you, too.

I posted about D Day at my art blog, too. Were we the only two?