June 6, 1944 and My Papa

Many words will be spoken and written about this day. Mine will be brief and personal. My papa was part of the Normandy Invasion. Years later, he barely spoke of all that transpired and that happened to a soft spoken country boy who lied about his age and volunteered for duty. He was 16 but claimed to be 18. Papa’s band of brothers all had names for each other. His was “Country” but not “Country” in a down-putting way. It was a tribute to his slow, Southern speech, his generous heart, and his stubbornness and will to survive. I wrote about some of this in my post when I accepted the Inner Peace award in his memory (http://kanzensakura.com/2013/06/15/inner-peace-award).

He was a sharpshooter. A mild title for a brutal job. The few of his buddies who were able to come to his funeral spoke of him and how his ability often saved their lives, how his sweet smile and prankish behavior saved their souls by making them laugh and forget the hell around them, if only for a moment.

The picture of him (handsome guy on the left) was taken on his 21st birthday in Paris. His two best buddies in the picture with him, died within the next two weeks. We are rapidly losing this Greatest Generation as age and time takes its toll. We have much to thank them for. When we honor our vets, don’t forget to include these men and women in those ceremonies. I have much to be thankful for, but on a personal level. I always think of my papa and am thankful I am his daughter. I have been told I look like him. I’d like to hope I am also share some of the traits that made him such a loving and loveable person. To the Greatest Generation – thank you and God bless you.

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22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 09:57:29

    So many young men, brave and strong, fought hard for us. The least we can do is honor them. Let us hope another day like June 6 does not come to be.
    This is a wonderful tribute to your father, Kanzen.<3

    Reply

  2. macjam47
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 15:46:46

    What a beautiful tribute to your father.

    Reply

  3. belsbror
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 21:31:53

    Their sacrifices would not be forgotten.

    Reply

  4. de Wets Wild
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 21:42:54

    What a poignant photograph and a beautiful tribute, for a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid!

    Reply

  5. SirenaTales
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 22:10:56

    Dear Kanzen, Thank you for sharing this lovely, poignant and loving tribute. What those troops went through is unimaginable…blessings to you, them and their memory. xoxo

    Reply

  6. el34ax7
    Jun 06, 2014 @ 22:36:32

    Very touching, and the photo kills me. Your ‘papa’ surely was an extraordinary man, and the world is a much better place for having him and those like him in it.

    A few years back, I read about the last, or one of the last, WWI veterans dying, and it hit real hard. The death of a human hit first and I was saddened by the loss of his family, but then the realization that these moments of time are passing from memory to history, from life to the pages of some book. This seems like an incredible difference, does it not? “From memory to history:” is that not both amazing and terrifying?

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 06, 2014 @ 22:43:52

      Amazing, terrifying, heart rending…i wish you’dgot to the link about the inner peace award. I got into more detail about him. He was a true sweetheart.

      Reply

  7. M-R
    Jun 07, 2014 @ 02:16:11

    Without the slightest wish to appear critical, Kanzen – don’t you think you should have this wonderful photo scanned properly for your personal archives ? You probably have more, too: you should have them all professionally scanned, so that you can see properly for the rest of your days the images of someone you loved so greatly.

    Reply

    • kanzensakura
      Jun 07, 2014 @ 10:14:15

      Actually, we have thousands of family photos. All that is left of my family are my mother and her two younger sisters. After that, fini. My husband and I have no children and his family is only interested in themselves. I’ve thought of having them scanned but decided against it due to cost and the way technology changes. ‘ll leave them in their albums and boxes; Sometimes I look through them but mostly, I look through the photos in my heart where nothing can destroy them. I do not think you are being critical.

      Reply

  8. Maurice A. Barry
    Jun 07, 2014 @ 06:47:18

    Very nicely done, and a message all should hear.

    Reply

  9. FlaHam
    Jun 07, 2014 @ 12:15:26

    Kanzen, Beautiful simple beautiful. Thank you for sharing this. Take care, Bill

    Reply

  10. jaklumen
    Jun 07, 2014 @ 18:01:45

    My grandfather was a part of the Pacific conflict in WWII. My father has been very busy trying to archive not only his thoughts but so many other things in my mom’s side of the family.

    Reply

  11. Bernice
    Jun 07, 2014 @ 21:01:13

    Quite the story – thanks for sharing. I can’t even begin to imagine what your father saw during his military years.

    Reply

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