Walking in My Grandfather's Footsteps

Walking in my grandfather's footsteps on Utah Beach.

On this day, the 73rd anniversary of DDay, I honor the day he crossed this sand.

He didn't land on this beach on June 6th like so many who fell here, and so many who went on to fall in the fields, barns, dirt or cobbled streets, and forests.

My grandfather came here from an airfield in England in the months after, to secure the return of France to its own people.

He went through villages and airfields with his unit, on to Belgium, and then to Germany before he returned home to California.

He got married, had four children, and nine grandchildren.

Though he is no longer walking the earth, he lived for many days and years after the war, and his descendants are now in the double digits.

His DNA lives strongly in many of us ... some of us share his passion for books and learning, some of us have green thumbs just like his; leaning strongly into the natural world and all of its bounty.

Some of us are seekers of decency and gentle, quiet stillness.

Some love using our hands to create, mold, and bring to life something where there was nothing before.

We all have in common our love and respect for him, because as he served our country, he served as a gentle, calm, and steady rock in our family.

We are lucky. He came home.

Yesterday as I stood on this beach, the westernmost of the Allied landing beaches, I felt the somber and silent voices of the men who didn't come home, and the men who fell on the sand here, to remain silent forever.

And, I hold in my heart a quiet hope for peace, that we will never forget the vast and far-reaching ripple effects of the violence and trauma brought by war.