samedi 17 novembre 2007

Normandy: Omaha Beach and the American Cemetary and Memorial

This trip tops the list of one of the most amazing things I did in France: visiting Omaha beach and the Normandy American cemetery and Memorial.

It was a cold but the sun was shining when we arrived at Omaha beach. The beach was simple enough. To my left the shore narrowed and these cliffs, from where the Germans fired, stood so tall and strong. I couldn't get over what the Allied soldiers were thinking moments before reaching the shore. It looked like certain death.

These soldiers put themselves willingly in danger to fight for what they believed in and stood for, and I just find that so beautiful and noble. Not just as an American, but as a human being. To risk your life so that others could live. I just couldn't help but shed some tears. And it's not like I know anyone who died in WWII, but of all the wars in American history there's something about this war that makes me a puddle of tears. I'll get to that later.

After Omaha beach, we went to the cemetery and memorial. We went through the guided tour and then had time on our own to walk through the cemetery and see the exhibit and short film, "Letters". During the movie, I was a puddle of tears, they just wouldn't stop. I have no idea why. The film was simple and not dramatic at all. Just the story of 5 different men who sent letters to their families before D-Day and who died and were buried there. It was well done. And these tears just kept streaming down my face, and I couldn't stop it. Later, I had to ask Steven to get me some toilet paper in the men's bathroom because the woman's was closed.

[Note: Here's where I'm going to sound totally crazy, be prepared. You can also stop reading here if you're not prepared for this.]
I've always felt that there was something strange about me because I get feelings for things that I don't understand and I don't know where they're coming from, like what I felt today. Or I have an affinity of things that are no longer the norm, like fountain pens and handwritten letters. When I was young and extremely imaginative, I came to believe that I have lived some past lives. That my soul has experienced things before that have left a mark or scar. And without even trying, I get these connections, like I'm communicating with or learning about my past life.

I don't get so emotional over movies about Vietnam or WWI. There's just something about WWII that really really connects with me. Only my really close friends and my Mom know this story, but one of the main driving reasons I started French was because I believed that in one of my past lives I was a French nurse during World War II. I know that sounds so insane, but there are just so many things that back up this story, and I can't help but believe. Below is the story that made me believe:

It was during my sophomore or junior year of high school. I was reading a Tolkien book, probably Fellowship of the Ring under a bright, halogen light on my brother's bed. Then for some reason, I stared up at the halogen light and was just totally hypnotized by it. Next thing, I'm in someone else's body in a field hospital. I'm a nurse. Light is pouring in through everywhere, everything is really bright. And there's this young man sleeping on a cot, and I'm standing beside him. He's an American. I think I just finished bandaging him. Another nurse comes up to me, and she's speaking French, and I speak back to her in French. I don't remember what it was about. I'm pretty sure it was about the soldier. Then I turn back to the soldier. And everything gets whiter and brighter.

I awoke. I found myself on my knees with my face on the bed and my arms at my sides. 15 to 20 minutes had passed since I was awake. What had happened? I wondered if I had daydreamed and then fell asleep or just fell asleep and dreamed it.

I wrote about it in my journal, and never told anyone. A couple of days later, a friend comes up to me saying I was in her dream last night. She said we were dressed in old-fashioned clothing, probably the 40s, and speaking French. I was lighting her cigarette for her right before we ducked into a bistro. And that was it. Weird dream, huh? Yeah, weird dream.

There are other stories to back up my belief, and I took French hoping to get more in touch with that past life, but so far, no major results other than being extremely moved by the cemetery at Normandy. Maybe I know someone there. What I want more than anything is to have my soul free from this human prison so I don't have to keep being a human all the time. But if I knew what I did/didn't do in my past lives, I can make this life count, I can finally be free.

4 commentaires:

Ihuixochitl a dit…

Elaine! You went to Normandy, awesome! I wish I could've gone, but cold + grève=no romina in Normandy! Looks like I missed out, but I'm glad it was a good experience for you! There seems to be a lot of nostalgia here for WWII it is one of the most moving wars (at least in my opinion too). See you Tuesday I hope!

elaine a dit…

Thanks! Yeah, it was super cool, you should definitely check it out if you can. See you!

Sarah Kathryn a dit…

Elaine, that last part of your blog that you wrote about the Normandy trip... I know absolutely what you mean. and I mean absolutely, you mention feeling this way especially as a child. Since "growing up" I have been able to distance myself from this part of me, sometimes I am so thankful for that but others I wish I could go back again, when I was younger I was indescribably sensitive. I would hardly sleep and cry myself silly because of the rainforests, because of war and death on the news. I would be talking to myself, my mom overhears and realizes that I am narrating details about the life of my grandfather I had never met before, details I could never have known etc etc. WEll, I could go on, but i suppose that is enough weirdness for one comment.

elaine a dit…

Wow, Sarah, I thought I was the only one or one of a million. It's nice to know that we have this shared experience. We'll have to talk about this sometime. Thanks for the comment!