Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day: Heroes

We had a long conversation with my father today and most of it revolved around his experiences in WWII. They are too numerous for me to write about in a blog post. One story struck a cord especially after looking up and reading some information on the event. The event was the Battle of Argentan or as it is often times called "The Falaise Pocket". This was the final battle of the Normandy Campaign and it lasted eight days and it sent the German forces retreating across France. My father talked about the casualties and what he had witnessed. There was not much left of the city of Argentan after the battle and the German 9th Panzer Division and 2nd SS Panzer Division lay largely in waste on the road sides leading to Paris. Shortly after Argentan my father was marching through the streets of Paris and later that year would meet a young French woman named Anne and fall in love. Later in December of 1944 came the "Battle of the Bulge" followed by the the end of the "Great Crusade" in 1945.

"An American GI"

After the war my father stayed in Europe with occupation forces and helped rebuild and maintain order. He would marry his French lover and they would have their first child, my sister Rose Marie, and return to the states in 1948 to live out their lives.

My mother has a story all her own about the war and the events leading up it. It impacted both her and her family greatly, and I know that she carries an emotional burden from her family's experiences. They are my heroes.

In the whole scheme of things...biking has very little importance.

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