Who is Chuck and why does he like to travel?

I was born to be a writer and when I wrote my novel Wild Point Island, Chuck, my orange and white recently rescued feral tabby, got it in his head that he wanted to travel to the island and see the place for himself. Well, of course, Wild Point Island, can only be seen by revenants (you'll have to read the book to find out who they are) and Chuck is no revenant so instead, I concocted a plan to take Chuck with me when I travel around the world, which I do frequently. Not an easy task. First, I have to deflate the poor kid of all air, stuff him in my carry-on bag, remember to bring my portable pump, and when I arrive, I pump him back up. Ouch. But he's used to it by now and given the choice to either stay home in his comfy cat bed or get deflated, he pulls out his passport, ready to travel, every time.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chuck Visits Code Name Omaha Beach

History is sometimes hard to imagine.  The brutality of it.

Which is why I made the harsh decision to sit my rascal cat, Chuck, down to watch the work of a master craftsman--Steven Spielberg, whose movie, Saving Private Ryan, shows in horrific detail (and, here, I'm talking about the opening 27 minutes) one of the most realistic battle sequences ever filmed--the Allied invasion of Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.

Omaha Beach was the ”code name” for the largest of the five beaches in the German occupied area of Normandy, France
during World War II.  It was the American’s responsibility to take control of the beach.  There were no less than twelve German strongpoints that directed fire on the troops that landed that day as part of the Allied invasion. The casualties were enormous.  In fact, Omaha has been called the “most intensely fought after beach” ever.

The soldiers who lived through the battle have an understanding of what it was like to be on the beach that day.  For the rest of us, we can look at the photos or read the accounts or watch the film.

No one can forget the close-up of the Tom Hanks’ character in the opening minutes, giving last minute orders to his men, as the boat brings them closer and closer to the shore and to the enemy fire and his words, “I’ll see you on the beach,” which rings out like a death sentence. 

Today, the area known as Omaha Beach is more built up, of course.  The towns and villages that surround it have expanded and changed with the passage of time, but the actual geography of the beach remains eerily as it was.  

As Chuck and I walk around this now famous tourist spot, we see the landscape, the inroads that were used by the men when they came in from the beach.  

We see the pill boxes, the concrete dug-in guard posts, equipped with loop holes with which to fire weapons, which still exist.  We see the bunkers. 

The flags of all the liberating countries now fly on the beach.

A sculpture, built in 2004, is dedicated to peace and to the soldiers who fought for the Allies.  We know that 34,000 Allied forces landed on the beach. The casualties numbered 2,400.  

Today, the beach is once again at peace.    


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