As 2017 closes I’m turning back pages from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Normandy and beyond with my son this year. Visited storied battlefields, towns and cemetery settings. Every inch of ground was bought with a price. One can almost smell the smoke; hear the artillery, tank treads and small arms fire. Will post more sketches made on site before the year is out. Flew to Paris and traded the capital's trash, graffiti, and ugliness of its industrial underbelly for the pastoral countryside en route to the Norman coast. I'm more a Southeast Asia/Pacific man but this chapter of Europe’s WWII past was an eye-opener. I was pleased to see that every setting I had written about in my first novel, “The Fortunate Orphans” was confirmed by on site visits—including the infamous meadow of the Malmedy Massacre. We started with the beaches of “Bloody” Omaha and Utah and continued on to Juno, Gold and Sword. Reverent is the byword for visitors to these hallowed grounds. This was an opportunity not to be missed...though I had stayed away for seventy-plus years until circumstances changed. Will continue to post more sketches and notes in the days ahead. The drawings, done in the field, were hasty because I did not want to be among the missing when my fellow travelers boarded the bus for our next stop.
German machine gun outpost, Juno Beach
“Bloody” Omaha Beach
Canadian Flag, Juno Beach