So, I stumbled upon these while looking through my Facebook account for photos that hadn't been nuked by the great RAID-5 array crash of 2008. In case you followed the saga, I have now obtained a Buffalo Terastation Pro NAS that may allow me to recover some of my 27,000 travel photos.
I have no idea how I thought of this. I imagine it has something to do with my fairly random thought processes, checking in on my old game forums while plotting a return to blowing-shit-up-action despite the fact that I have no time thanks to a 600km weekly commute and an exploded power supply, as well as the frustration of #1 having a hot girlfriend asleep on the couch, and #2 drinking way too much champagne and whiskey and flirting with gorgeous Parisian chicks, knowing-you-could-but-really-shouldn't-because-of-#1.
I apologize if I've posted this before but I found these pics during a search for anything available that I could use for one of my startup endeavors' front page photos. Those of you who are on Facebook can have a look at a very few of my pics at the link below -- ideally, you will not stumble on my albums of INSEAD MBA debauchery. And if you do, take heed -- life's too short.
In late 2007, I took an American friend of mine to visit Normandy. We passed by Bayeux, and visited Carentan, Gold Beach, Omaha Beach, the American war cemetery and Point du Hoc before returning to Fontainebleau. Naturally I'm leaving out some side trips to Norman cider and Calvados distilleries, but that's grown-up stuff.
Maybe this was the result of recently having seen Saving Private Ryan, The Longest Day, and Band of Brothers (the latter enjoyed in increments on a projector, over several bottles of wine, as a form of relaxation from incredibly stressful finance projects, in one of the common areas of a 17th century French farmhouse) but, while I'm not at all a religious person, standing on Omaha beach was probably the closest I've ever come to a supernatural experience. For some bizarre reason, the John Gillespie Magee poem "high flight" came to mind -- look it up, inquisitiveness is a healthy characteristic in this day and age of spoon-feeding. I may be a naturally weepy person, but if this doesn't bring a tear to your eye, you're not human. That said, standing at the waterline at Omaha one could hear the trumpets.
We continued to the American cemetery (we later passed by the German one, a sad patch of turf beside a highway, a tragic footnote really) before it closed, and it was there that I encountered one of the bigger mindfucks I've ever seen. Just walking through the grounds is an experience in itself; an intense experience that hits you like a brick. If you have the opportunity to visit, I strongly recommend you avoid the visitor center, and go walk among the grave markers, taking in the peaceful view over the ocean.
A group of elderly French gentlemen in partial uniform were placing flower bouquets on the graves of unknown soldiers, then saluting while dipping their flags with a dignity that defied description. Many of the tourists, myself included, were taken aback by the earnestness of the spectacle, trying to figure out what exactly the hell was going on. The five parachute infantry veterans paid no heed to the gathering crowds of onlookers and went about their business.
We caught up with them at a service station on the way back to Fontainebleau later that day. Apparently this particular group made a point of driving their bigblack Audi A8 limousine around Allied cemeteries to thank the unnamed dead in their own way.
I took the opportunity to thank them for what I'd seen them do; they seemed a bit taken aback by some 34-year-old kid bringing it up. Judging by their ages, I can easily imagine that they might have been in the thick of some of the more brutal abominations of France's war in Algeria; nonetheless, they expressed a solemn gratitude to the humanity and tragedy of sacrifice that I (as a member of the human race, lest I start sounding contrived, rather than as an American) found deeply touching.
I realize that we're in the presence of an awesome, if batshit, current events photographer, but I thought maybe that on this October 11 anniversary of nothing in particular at all (unless you're a failed Argentinian medical student with a markedly inferior bent towards economic theory) I'd nonetheless share (re-share?) my pictures from last year.
I apologize if it's a re-post, there's no political context intended (beyond "never trust politicians, especially if they're from Alaska, etc. etc.)
Omaha Beach. Stand at the waterline.
The last one always makes me cry.
And now you have to watch this to cheer yourself up, I suppose. Sorry about that.
Whoa, I know that feeling but I wouldnt be able to have it if I were with someone. Some of the most amazing experiences were days spent by myself in my own thoughts. Great story, the guy with the beard is bad-ass. Curious, why does the last one get you that way? Also, Im djing at this very minute, I just got done playing Drumorello with Buddy Rich and a little Sing sing sing in your honor!!!!
Very nice. I've been there in August, visited all things you mentioned. Including the distilleries :p The cliffs on the background of your Omaha picture, on top of those there is a tiny camping, thats where I was :p Small world.
.Invictus.;4625659Very nice. I've been there in August, visited all things you mentioned. Including the distilleries :p The cliffs on the background of your Omaha picture, on top of those there is a tiny camping, thats where I was :p Small world.
Probably the same camping where I was 2 years ago:)
Camping Omaha Beach? With a museum in front of it? Quite Spartan but close to alot of D-Day stuff.
Just to help u non english-first-language speakers out:P
"is a tiny camping, thats where I was "
You should actually say "is a tiny campground, that's where I was"
camping is a verb:P
Same on the other posts with "camping," it should be campground.
Sorry, poor grammar bugs me:P
Thats/That's :P It's quite often that people on internet just leave out the 's In swedish (don't know about dutch), a campground is called Camping. I would have said like camp-site or camping-site.
But yeah Invictus, I think that was it, there are probably a lot of 'campGROUNDS' there, but it was quite spartan. it was placed just where the cliffs went over to being a beach.
Herr Ober, die Rechnung bitte
20th October 2007
Von Mudra;4627720Sorry, poor grammar bugs me:P
Tzis. Speak nederlands then, and let invictus correct you.
To the topic: I know that feeling that you described, that one you had in this particular situation. I often have the feeling that not enough people feel such a thing, or at least not enough, for else there would be much less disrespect to any other people out in the world, may they be french, american, german, afghani, iraqi or whatsoever.