Awaiting Periwinkle’s Arrival
Once again Stinky had asked Periwinkle to arrive before sunup for their adventure. They would be traveling to France. He wanted to arrive there by noon, so they would have plenty of daylight for their adventure.
Periwinkle tumbles out of the teleportation tunnel yawning, but she is right on time. As usual, she and Stinky share lots of paw hugs and whisker kisses before Stinky takes her paw and leads her back into the tunnel. He doesn’t even give her the opportunity to ask where they are headed.
D-Day: Omaha Beach
When they emerge, they are on a beach near a large sculpture. Immediately Periwinkle asks where they are. Stinky explains that yesterday, June 6, was D-Day, a turning point during World War II and that they are on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. Of course, Periwinkle wants to know something about D-Day.
Stinky gives her a brief history: D-Day (Codename: Operation Overlord) took place on June 6, 1944. It was the largest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare. Allied forces commenced a combined naval, air and land assault on Nazi-occupied France. The Allies made use of 5,000 ships and landing craft to land more than 150,000 troops on five beaches (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword) in Normandy. The landings marked the beginning of a long and costly campaign in north-west Europe. At the end of the day, the Allies secured their position along the coast and could begin advancing into France.
“What does the ‘D’ stand for?” asks Periwinkle. “The ‘D’ in D-Day stands simply for ‘day.’ The term described the first day of any large military operation,” Stinky replies. Periwinkle thinks that’s a bit silly, but Stinky assures her it is true.
Periwinkle then asks about the sculpture.
Using his best French accent, Stinky tells her, “It is called Les Braves and is a tribute to the Allies that landed on Omaha Beach.” Stinky also informs her that the sculptor was Anilore Banon. He then proceeds to explain the meaning behind the three elements of the sculpture. First are the Wings of Hope, which represent the spirit which carried the Allies that day and hopefully continue to inspire people and remind everyone that it’s always possible to change the future if they work together. The next is Riare the se, Freedom!. It represents those who rose against the brutality of war to help humans remain strong against all types of inhumanity. Finally, there are the Wings of Fraternity to remind everyone of their personal responsibility toward others and themselves.
American Cemetery and Memorial
Periwinkle is quite impressed with Stinky’s knowledge and tells him so as he leads her to the American Cemetery and Memorial. Stinky tells her, “The cemetery contains 9,386 graves on 172.5 acres. Most of the individuals buried here were killed in the D—Day landings and resulting operations.”
“Why do some graves have crosses and some have stars?” asks Periwinkle.
“The ones with crosses are for the Christians soldiers, and the one’s with the Star of David are for the Jewish soldiers,” Stinky explains.
After wandering through the cemetery, Stinky takes Periwinkle to the memorial, which contains the Walls of the Missing inscribed with 1,557 names. Those whose remains have been recovered and identified since the memorial was erected have rosettes added next to their names. The semicircular colonnade also has maps and narratives of the military operations.
Periwinkle points to a bronze statue and asks Stinky about it. “That’s the ‘Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves.’ It was created by Donald Harcourt De Lue and resurrected in 1951. It represents the soldiers buried here.” Together they read aloud the words made of bronze letters on the red granite base: “MINE EYES HAVE SEEN THE GLORY OF THE COMING OF THE LORD.”
“Stinky this is an amazing remembrance of all those soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom as well as for those in other countries. They certainly were brave,” Periwinkle remarks. She then asks about the circular structure at the opposite end of the reflecting pool and midway through the cemetery. The tabbies join paws and walk toward it as Stinky tells her that it’s a chapel.
Upon entering the chapel, Periwinkle and Stinky read together the inscription on the black and gold marble altar: “I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH”. They admire the etched glass behind the alter, which depicts a Latin cross and a star of David, as well as an alpha and an omega symbol, to represent all other religions.
Periwinkle notices and points to the mosaic on the ceiling. She and Stinky discover it was completed in 1953 and contains 500,000 tiles. It is meant to represent the story of war and peace.
A Bit More History
When leaving the chapel, Periwinkle and Stinky decide they need to have a snack and rest for a bit. Stinky gets the Temptations and Fancy Feast from his backpack. While the tabbies rest Stinky tells Periwinkle that by 1944 in excess of 2 million troops from more than 12 countries were in Britain preparing for the invasion. Allied forces on D-Day were mainly those from America, Britain and Canada but included Australian, Belgian, Czech, Dutch, French, Greek, New Zealand, Norwegian, Rhodesian and Polish naval, air or ground support.
“Wow, Stinky, wouldn’t it be wonderful if all our nations could unite again to end the war in Ukraine,” Periwinkle remarks. Stinky, of course, agrees with her.
When they finish resting, Stinky suggest they take a look at the various fortifications occupied by the Nazis when the invasion took place, and they head in that direction. Stinky explains that the Germans built powerfully armed, coastal, artillery batteries along the coast. The entirety of the installations was referred to as the Atlantic Wall.
After climbing around on the cliffs checking out the various fortifications, both Periwinkle and Stinky agree they are totally exhausted. They know they’ve missed seeing several things, but their legs are aching and their toe beans scratched. The tabbies agree it’s time to say farewell to France and head home. They return to the teleportation tunnel, which remained on the beach.
When they arrive at Stinky’s house, both collapse for a nap. When they awake, they visit with Stinky’s fursibs and parents and have another snack. Before Periwinkle reenters the teleportation tunnel she tells Stinky, “Normandy was a great place to visit, especially as we just celebrated Memorial Day. It reminds us of how grateful we should be to those who fought and lost their lives to ensure our freedom.” They share some whisker kisses and paws hugs. Before entering the tunnel Periwinkle tells Stinky how proud of him she is. He gives her a quizzical look before realizing she’s referring to the fact that he didn’t climb on the statues or grave markers. Stinky winks at Periwinkle as she enters the tunnel. With a final wave and whoosh of the tunnel Periwinkle is on her way home.
Periwinkle and Stinky took lots more photos and would be happy to share them on another adventure if anyone is interested. Let them know in the comments.
The tabbies are participating in the Happy Tuesday blog hop at Comedy Plus.