The Vast Expanse of Beach and Sea

Utah Beach, Normandy, France.

My father landed D-Day +3 on Utah Beach and survived the Second World War. Five years ago, my husband and I took a long awaited trip to France. One of the places we went was to Normandy. As I stood on this beach (the only one of the five landing beaches we were allowed to walk on), I tried to take in not only its sheer beauty, but also the enormity of what had happened here in 1944. I bent down, scooping up a large handful of sand, and held it, thinking of all the soldiers who had landed here to help liberate France and Europe. Many lost their lives in the process.

Everywhere we went in Normandy, we saw plaques, statues and museums to commemorate the beginning of the end of the war and the breaking of the Nazi’s death grip on France. I couldn’t help but be humbled by France’s gratitude.

I think the beauty, vastness and history of this beach has something to impart to us in our own troubled time. The scourge of COVID 19, like WW II, leaves us in a world with the stark differentiation of before and after. Our world has changed, never to be quite the same. I take comfort not only from the memory of the soldiers who landed on this beach, but also from the people of France. They endured great hardship and privation, yet emerged into a world they could rebuild. For me, it helps put the current #ShelterInPlace directive in perspective. Added to that I realize that while this is difficult, I am among the lucky in that my income and housing are not affected while I remain confined to my apartment, and I have access to enough food. All of that makes me think, “This is hard, but I can do this. I may at times be teary or grumpy about it, or overwhelmed, or scared, but I can do this. I must do this. It is a small price to pay to keep myself and others safe.

Posted for Tina’s Lens-Artists Challenge #90 – Distance.

10 thoughts on “The Vast Expanse of Beach and Sea”

  1. I loved your approach to the challenge Hannah, very thoughtful and a great message. We CAN do this. Much like the war, there are varying degrees of privation. We are the lucky ones. Our health care workers are the soldiers and the enemy is invisible. May we all come through a bit wiser and kinder

  2. Excellent photo and thoughts. Utah would ‘just’ be a beautiful beach save for the infamy. (Been there.) Indeed, you and I are fortunate that all we have to do is stay out of the way.

  3. Yes, we are the lucky ones. Excellent post, well composed and words and photo beautiful. Went to my heart so directly…we have to do this – and we can. Thank you for your thoughts and connecting to history. I hope we will learn from this when we are through it.

  4. It is so easy to focus on what we don’t have, rather than all we do have. We, too, have all we need, I work from home, and the sun shines almost every day! I hope and pray we all get through this and remain hopeful for our future. Lovely post!

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