I was going to do one of those trixy blends of then and now of the school where the Allied Command Center was, where the Germans surrendered.
When I came home I found this stock photo from Alamy that I bought. It was captioned Nazi prisoners marching:
Here's what the school looks like now with students checking sports scores as they walk:
But I didn't have to align layers in Photoshop and do a blend because someone already did:
The New York Times wrote a fascinating piece about Ernie Pyle, who was essentially the Walter Cronkite of WWII and was there for the invasion.
For those who can't see the article, here's a key quote:
Until D-Day, war had largely been an exhilarating experience for Pyle, terrible but often uplifting. Ten days after the landings, the awfulness of all the death he was witnessing in the “thousands of little skirmishes” in the hedgerow country of Normandy was carving away at his mental state. He reported having knots in his stomach from “constant tenseness and lack of sleep.” In a letter back home, he confided that he had to “continually fight an inner depression over the ghastliness of it all.” “Sometimes,” he wrote to Miller on June 29, “I get so obsessed with the tragedy and horror of seeing dead men that I can hardly stand it. But I guess there’s nothing to do but keep going.”
Sounds like he was suffering from PTSD.....and, on a side note, as I am a Veteran of no real war conflict but concerned abou the alarming rate of suicide amongst war veterans (military or civilians), I was very encouraged with this new treatment for PTSD that some Veterans are trying out.....thus, hopefully this will help many people that suffer from PTSD even if it is not war-related.
That sounds amazing. 🙏 I wonder how it works?
On a lighter note, in the town where the paratroopers landed, Sainte-Mère-Église, the local hair salon came up with a great name! 😁
No, this is not the same veteran. This man is named Léon Gautier. He's wearing the green beret of the French Navy commandos because he was a member of the Kieffer commando who landed there on the D day. Today he's one of the 3 members of that commando still alive.
Kieffer was a French Navy officer leading the 178 men forming the only French unit landing on the Normandy beaches on that day of june 6th, along with the British troops.
Today the 7 commandos units of the French Navy are still named after some officers who gave their lives for France. Some of them were themselves members of the original Kieffer unit, some others gave their life during the Indochina war between 1946 and 1954 (Commandos Kieffer, Ponchardier, Jaubert, Trépel, Hubert, De Monfort, De Penfentenyo).