Coming through the fire: Remembering D-day

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Today is the 70th anniversary of a key battle in WWII, D-Day. This battle marked the end of the Totalitarian regime of Hitler. Although, it would take another year of fighting before the war would end.

So many lives were lost on this day, so much bloodshed and so much pain. This is a somber day for all who survived, for all those who are still alive and can share their story of one of the bloodiest battles in the war.

Listen to the stories from soldiers on both sides. They do not discuss politics, they do not discuss who is right and who is wrong. Their stories are in the moment. They talk about bloodshed, loss, killing. The images of that day a burnt into their minds and souls. When they sleep, they return to it. When it’s quiet the screams echo in their ears.

For the Allies, winning the war is little compensation for the burdens that they took away from the beach that day. For the German alliance the shame of losing only amplifies the pain suffered.

When it boils down to a single battle, the ultimate winners and losers are not what matters it’s that split second when your adrenaline is pumping, when your eyes see, but your brain can’t absorb the horror. It’s that moment when you swallow your fear and you training takes over like an auto pilot on a plane. It’s the smell of the sea mixed with diesel fumes, the acrid scent of gunpowder, and the high metallic perfume of spilled blood.

No one escaped that day. No one was a mere spectator. Some of their wounds are visible but for all the worst are not.

Remember D-day for freedom, for the end of the war, but remember the soldiers who fought because they had no choice. Remember them as example of what hell truly means.
And remember all the horrors of this war as an example of why we can not allow this to happen again.

We are already forgetting, we are already allowing genocide to occur. Don’t dishonor all those who fought to stop this in WWII.

I admire the German people of today. Humbled by the past, they are determined not to repeat it. We need to do the same, no race is worthy of annihilation. No single country should dominate and forcefully invade another peaceful country in the name of expansion. If you have a voice, honor those who could not speak, stand up for justice and for the freedom to live.

In honor of Anthony “link” Cedrone rest in peace, tin can soldier.

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Memorial Day Changes…

As you know I am a military brat from a military family whose service can be traced back to the Civil War. Since then there has been at least one if not many more of my family involved in every conflict/war the US has been involved in. Many of my ancestors reached high ranks in the Navy, but we have also had family in every branch of the military. We are a family who truly understands that freedom is not free, but born on the backs of the men and women who live and die to protect it.

We have a special connection to WWII. Partly because the name Welling still holds records in the navy, but also those very same men were German themselves. Their grandfather came here to build a better life, fought in the civil war and saw the rest of his family return to Germany as they missed the farming lands of home. His only sister became a professor at Heidelberg University. She and the family remained there through the dark times of Germany. No one knows what happened to those family members during the war, although we are trying to trace them.

My family felt the stigma of our german heritage in those days and I grew up watching all or most of the villains in movies being German. I was born nearly 30 years after the war ended but I was born in Germany and endured being called a Nazi by many grade school children who thought it was funny. I was asked if my family (Americans) were nazis or holocaust survivors. I even had one teacher ask if my mother was a Germany war bride. I grew up in an Italian neighborhood that celebrated their heritage despite the fact that Italy aligned itself with Germany. My German heritage took a back seat to my Irish side for in Boston you could always find the Irish.

As I grew older and more interested in my German ancestry, I wonder where all the German Americans were. There are approximately 75,000 scattered throughout Massachusetts, yet it’s hub and capital, Boston has only on german restaurant.

When I returned to Germany in the ’90’s and several times over the last 5 years, I found nothing of the caricatures we see in the media. Just warm, funny people who have been humbled by history yet have rebuilt a country and a life out of the ashes.

When I looked around I didn’t see holocaust survivor or nazis that escaped punishment, but people. People who had the same worries and
Concerns that we do. I have seen their remarkable resilience of a people who rebuilt a shattered world. This gave me the idea for an art project to show the world the people I see.

I will be traveling to Germany this summer for work and study. While there I will photograph the remarkable people, events and emotions that fuel this new Germany.

I hope to produce a photo book of these pictures and could use your support in getting it produced I have just 2 days left to meet my goal, please make a pledge today!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1222109235/collective-thoughts-my-german-summer