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Sea Of Remembering

by David Cale


On June 6, 1944, D-day, this beach, between Courseulles to St-Aubin sur Mer was newly christened -in blood- Juno Beach.  It was here, that Canadians of Toronto's Queen's Own Rifles, Regina Rifles, and Quebec Chaudiers among others, jumped into heavy surf and struggled ashore into the teeth of strong German resistance. Most of the German bunkers had not been destroyed by the preliminary bombardment, and until they were "silenced", inflicted heavy losses. At the end of the day, "The German dead were littered over the dunes by the gun positions", a Canadian journalist reported. "By them, lay Canadians in bloodstained battledress, in the sand and in the grass, on the wire and by the concrete forts. ..They had lived a few minutes of the victory they had made. That was all."  Three hundred and forty Canadians had given their lives. Another five hundred and seventy four had been wounded. This was just the beginning. In the days to come, Canadians would see some of the bloodiest fighting of the invasion. On this day in Aug. 1999 there was no sign of war except for the memorials and a few empty concrete bunkers.  The sky opened and a golden shaft of light fell on the sea.  I thought of all the terribly young men who died here, on both sides, and realized that only those who were here with them could really remember them. They were old now and soon would be gone as well, and not even the sea would know them anymore.




The sky opened spilling

itself golden into a darkened sea

a sea of remembering

In the distance vague figures

running, running still

hunched, in antic frenzy

Memories, memories

of the once so young, hazy in dreams

just over the horizon

Golden smiles and brave waves

with a look behind their eyes

last seen in nineteen forty four

The sky opened spilling

itself golden onto a darkened sea

a sea almost forgotten



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