Friday, June 13, 2008
American WWI (Navy) Monument Brest, France
June 11, 2008
For me today was an emotional milestone.
Following the end of WWI and the Allied Occupation of Germany my grandfather and hundreds of thousands of doughboys were taken by rail to Brest, (Brittany) France in the spring of 1919. They then boarded troopships and sailed for New York City. The harbor at Brest was also a major supply base for the American war effort.
Brest was the only place in Europe that was grandfather was in, which I had not visited. So, now I've covered all the towns from were in landed at La Harve to his departure at Brest and everyplace in between.
In the late 1920's the American Battle Monuments Commission built a monument overlooking the Brest Harbor to comemorate all the sailors who gave their lives in the war and the achievments of the United States Navy. On July 4, 1941 the Germany army distryed the monument and built a command bunker in its place. (There is no coincidence with July the 4th!)
In 1958 the monument was rebuilt according to the original specifications. And to build it in the same location it was built over the WWII bunker. So, the foundation for the magnificent memorial is the bunker.
So, I fly home tomorrow and wanted to get another note to everyone.
The D-Day week was -well - incredible. But, I'll have to sort all out later. The highlights were spend the week with my Sweddish cousins, Goran and Bo. Also, much wonderful time was spent with my friends Jack Port and his daughter Deborah. Jack is a Utah Beach D-Day veteran (4th Division).
One unbelievable moment is following the Utah Beach Memorial ceremony, a German military band - for the first time in public - played The Longest Day!! Now that's coming around full circle!
Anyway, it is late and I'm signing out.
Thank you, Jeff