The mood is mellow and somber here in Normandy. Dark and heavy clouds have lingered for the most part of the day like a persistent tune that you can’t get off your head. I would feel a drop of two from the sky, and then I smell the threat of rain, although it never came.
Over the beach of Omaha, there’s a long stretch of blue-gray sky, with a sliver of light trying to pass through. That break in the sky lit up the beach to a golden color, right in the area where they had set up three shiny sculptures they call Les Braves. Kids played around it, shoveling the grains of golden sand carefully onto their plastic buckets like they were precious stones. They stay for a long time, sinking their tiny feet into the soft sand, then they start building a sandcastle that gets thinner and thinner as the winds from the South blow past it.
It’s almost cute how they play carelessly on the same beach where many brave young men have given up their lives on that fateful day they call D-Day. Their innocence excuses them from not knowing, their youth saves them from the ills of the troubled past.
Up on the hill, not very far from this beach is a long stretch of manicured lawn, filled with crosses and some with six-point stars. There are withered roses, miniature flags, unpolished pebbles, silent prayers, and unwritten notes.
Underneath them all are where these brave men lay – thousands of them under a carpet of green grass, separated by white marble headstones, some of them with their names engraved, some are just called unknown.
From the shores of Omaha Beach to the hills of Normandy, they make their presence known, perhaps hoping the castles the children build don’t end up like hopes that perish on the sand and dreams that disappear with the wind.