My first "then" is a picture of my father, circa WWII. He was drafted early in the war, was stationed all over America and ended up in Europe, including DDay. There are no notes on the back of this photo, so I don't know who else is in this picture or where it was taken. My father is standing in the back to the left.
From my father's stories of DDay I always wanted to see the Normandy beaches and had the opportunity in 1985. I found the courage of the Allied troops extraordinary and am ever grateful for their courage and sacrifices. Actually seeing the beaches where the landings took place awed me beyond any words. The top picture shows the monument to the troops that captured the Pointe du Hoc. They scaled, what I remember seeing, a rock wall with a German machine gun base at the top. The second photo is one of the American cemeteries in Normandy. They are places of serenity and I feel honored to have been able to pay my respect to those who gave everything for our country.
And now, my thanks to those who protect us today in near and far regions of the world, with awesome and extraordinary courage. This post is in memory of my father and those who served with him and in memory of our friend Tim, who gave his life last year in Iraq.