I have had a wonderful day, half of it working. It went by quickly! The other half
of this beautiful June 6th day, I spent walking around the unique and incredible
“Schnormeier Gardens.” This is a place to feel peaceful and harmonious with
nature. The owners allow people to visit only a short time every year. They have
a lot of Asian influences in their sculptures, the beautiful gardens and pagodas.
There is a Japanese garden house, a Chinese pavilion and 75 acres to explore!
Ted and Ann Schnormeier say this simple welcome to people,
“It has been said that a garden can have a soul… but only if it is shared with others.”
While my friend and I sat and reflected upon D-Day today and its being 70 years
ago, we thought: we are so lucky. We don’t have this drama, the horrors and
conflict of that particular WWII to live through. The honest, serious show of
strength that young men and women who were participants in this war is
The fight to save our integrity and defend our freedom from the tyranny of
Adolf Hitler is one that cannot be easily comprehended. The French people
still praise our efforts in the invasion of Normandy. We left a positive mark,
at least in this corner of the world!
Out to eat, with my good guy friend, Bill, he mentioned that I should include
President Eisenhower, then General, during this period of time. Bill considers
Dwight D. Eisenhower the ‘mastermind’ behind the WWII invasion of Normandy.
When I asked my good friend who had driven me to the special gardens
what she would have done, had she been alive during this time.
We were silent, watching the fountains of manmade waterfalls, splashing and
filling the air with its negative ions.
Breathing deeply and serenely relaxed, despite the serious subject at hand.
When the silence had lingered on for quite some time, I decided to say,
“I would have volunteered to work on the home front, making factory life
my choice of supporting the war effort. I don’t think I have the fortitude or
inner strength to fight and kill people, even if my family’s lives were in danger;
or my own. I would try to talk my way out of death. I would have wanted
Peace to be the result, but not been brave enough to fight.”
While at work, I asked Melvin what his favorite movie about the D-Day part
of history would be. He reminded me that his overall favorite movie with
war is, Clint Eastwood in, “Heartbreak Ridge.” His second favorite is,
“Flags of our Fathers.”
After thinking for a few moments, Melvin replied, “Patton.” He reminded
me of some of Patton’s character and personality traits were. He also
explained that Patton had a grasp on historical wars, including the Romans.
He also said that while stationed in Chicago, he saw at Fort Sheraton,
a huge portrait of General Patton. He felt that George C. Scott did an
excellent acting job.
He also introduced me to another fact I did not remember or comprehend
its significance. This was that Omar Bradley was the last of the Five Star
Brigadier Generals. There had been only eight others. He led millions of men,
been the head of the United States Army and was a fine and outstanding
example of service to our country. He lived to age 88 years old, a life well led.
The two Generals , Patton and Bradley, had been important to WWII in so
many ways, but hearing Melvin wax on about them, filled my own pacifist
heart with pride.
I am so glad that Melvin was able to remind me, on a personal level of
the impact that having good men to lead the armed forces, meant the
difference in winning the war!
Melvin, having met General Bradley, when he was older at an Army event
said he took the time to shake many men’s hands.
Melvin also told me that he would have liked to have been involved in
the war in Europe. He was blessed to have been a cook, in many places
traveling the world, from Hawaii, Germany, other jaunts in Europe with
day passes, along with asking to be in a quiet place in the Mid West to
complete his Army time, before retiring.
As we were on the subject of military service, Melvin shared that his older
brother had served during the Viet Nam War. He had been stationed in
Thailand, where his mail was postmarked. But, later, the family found out
he had been in Cambodia, in the ‘thick of things.’ It was not a pleasant time,
not many memories have been shared between the brothers. Melvin has
asked him to tell him more, one retired Army man to another, brother to
Melvin was so surprised that he and his family were never allowed to know
exactly what his brother’s experiences had been.
Melvin says that his brother was in Special Operations, in the Army. He
had sworn an “Oath of Secrecy.” The fact that he continues to be silent
about his participation in the Viet Nam War, along with being vague about
where he was during most of his time, impresses Melvin.
It also made a big impression on me! I know, for a fact, that I would not be
able to make a promise of keeping a secret from my loved ones, like his brother
I would not recommend “Celebrating D-Day.”
The word “celebrate” doesn’t seem like the right choice.
I would hope that you would take time to pause and reflect.
If you were active in any military service or married to a member of the
Armed Forces, I salute you!
I hope and pray you did not lose a member to any war or skirmish.
In that case, I sympathize and honor the dead.
And, sincerely thank you.