National Geographic : 1957 Jun
Here Rest in Honored Glory . . able to gain a closer than average view of the organization, its personnel, and its achievements. On the gray afternoon of July 16, 1956, some 2,000 persons, most of them English, thronged the mall leading to the memorial to be dedicated at the American shrine near Cambridge (page 741). Besides Colonel Law ley, I met among the guests several other World War II veterans who had traveled from their homes in the United States to pay homage to fallen comrades. "It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this," said Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg nearly a century ago. "But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate-we can not consecrate-we can not hallow-this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who strug gled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract." We can only try, as at Cambridge. To com memorate the achievements of our country men and their units, a wall map 30 feet wide and 18 feet high occupies a permanent place in the memorial. Marble, bronze, and alumi num have gone into outlining the Navy's Atlantic operations, the convoying of supplies to theU.S.S.R., andthe Air Forces' strategic bom bardment of German-held northwest Europe. From this busy pattern of war one may turn to the peaceful apse where the Archangel Gabriel in colored mosaic hovers above Latin Cross, Star of David, and the words from the 23d Psalm: "He mak eth me to lie down in green pastures... He restoreth my soul...." (page 732). An exterior wall dis plays an enormous map in stone relief. It shows all the sites in the United Kingdom where U. S. forces were stationed and rigorously trained for the campaigns in North Africa and Europe. Thou sands upon thousands of these Americans, together with British, Canadian, French, and Polish divi- sions, carried the war across the English Channel in a massive move toward the libera tion of France and the Continent. Twelve years after that momentous inva sion I stood on a Normandy bluff overlooking the English Channel. The same sweep of water had floated another history-making in vasion force nine centuries earlier. From the Norman coast, William, Duke of Normandy, sailed to conquer England.* Stillness at Omaha Beach I walked to the edge of the bluff and gazed down. Sunlight turned the sandy shore to gold. Blue waves gently washed it clean. In the breeze, fresh as a spring morning, a white butterfly glided quietly as time. Directly below me stretched Omaha Beach where on June 6, 1944, U. S. forces stormed ashore in the face of fearful fire. Of the many who never reached the top alive, hun dreds rest here today, amid the peace of rural Normandy. * See "The Coasts of Normandy and Brittany," by W. Robert Moore, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, August, 1943. A Frenchman Signs the Guest Book at Brittany Cemetery Many Europeans visit United States monuments in their countries. Some bring fresh flowers. This man came with his wife and son.