GT in the EU

An extraordinary education

Walking along the beach in Normandy


Omaha Beach, Normandy

Walking along Omaha beach opened up a sea of emotions I can’t describe. Over 2000 young men were cut down in their prime among a hail of bullets on the very beaches that I walked along. They were my age, just getting on with their lives, and many of them never made it off of the sand.
As I walked along the beach, with children playing and dogs chasing sea gulls along the waters’ edge, I noticed that right along the sea line was a line of beautiful blue shells. They stretched along the beach for as far as I could see, and when I picked one up it crumbled in my hand.
I didn’t know what else to do when I thought about the reflections for this blog post, but I felt inspired to write. Now I am no poet, but I tried to capture what I felt when I contemplated that day. The young men that died that day were beautiful, and now they are remembered as eternally young. This is what I came up with to try to describe how I felt.

Broken Shells

they were washed by the waves,
and smashed against the shore,
what once were beautiful shells,
are whole now no more.

look down and pick one up;
feel the fragility, the life!
from afar a line of thousands
but close one sees the strife.

they flooded the beach that June,
died by dozens, then droves,
now they lay among the cliffs,
lovely shells in eternal homes.

so travel West, and soon.
go get in your car and drive
stand on the shore and breathe in the salt,
and know that you are alive.

we were washed by the waves,
and saved by the shore.
these beautiful, broken shells,
will be remembered forevermore.




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  1. Meredith Jacobs

    Very beautiful poem Will! This day was incredibly powerful and moving, and it made proud of our country and history.

  2. Emma Smith

    Really great post. I think many of us were extremely moved by our trip to Normandy, myself very much included. It definitely made me understand even more the desire to create peace in Europe that led to the EU and the special bond between the US and the EU.

  3. Cora Olson

    Will, that poem was truly moving. It brings me memories of the WWII stories my grandparents have told me, and reminds me about how young and fragile they were at the time. I often forget they around my age when they joined the war effort. Thank you for such a beautiful piece!

  4. Jarrod Hayes

    Outstanding. Just outstanding!!!

  5. Rachel Jinks

    Beautiful poem Will! Really, it takes a lot of courage to share your own writing like that and it really explains how many of us felt standing on the beach that day. Truly more insightful than a simple summary of the day; thank you for the effort of showing what the trip meant to you and how you (and all of us) can reflect on the sacrifices of those that came before us.

  6. Suraj Sehgal

    Will, this post is amazing. Your poem and your reflection really touches the heart and is a wonderful attempt to capture the intensity of emotions that many of us felt on that day trip to Normandy.

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