“Why am I crying?”

Twenty years ago, seeing this in person for the first time….

A view of graves at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. [Photo by me, 1995.]
A view of graves at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. [Photo by me, 1995.]

….I was overwhelmed emotionally and I’ve never forgotten it.

Fast forward to 2013. I stuffed those feelings into “James’s” head. This bit that follows is autobiographical: a recounting of my own personal reaction and words (among those I recall uttering during that visit):

The acres of crosses, interrupted by an occasional Star of David, were almost too much for James. He was hardly the first visitor to have that experience at the U.S. military cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer….

….James wiped away tears that suddenly came rushing down his face. “Why am I crying?” he tried to seem in control. “No one I know is buried here.”

Indeed words are also limited and limiting. They can’t always be fashioned quite as we hope. Despite out best efforts, they rarely convey exactly what we truly feel inside.

Time magazine has a short article explaining U.S. Memorial Day and why Americans “celebrate” it. It’s worth a read. Have a good day.

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Author: “Conventions: The Garden At Paris,” “Passports,” “Frontiers,” and “Distances.” British Airways frequent flier. Lover of the Catskill Mountains...and the 1700s. New novel of 1797-1805, "Tomorrow The Grace," due out in 2019.