July 4, 2017 is an Independence Day we will never forget. That is why I chose it. All eleven of the the family were in Cambridge UK at the American Cemetery to celebrate the life of my oldest brother George, a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, who jumped in the early hours of June 6, 1944. He was wounded at the battle for La Fiere Bridge in Normandy, and died on the ship back to England. He was 20 years young. I was not born until two years after his death. As the last of my immediate family, I feel a responsibility to pass this story of our family’s hero to my children and their children. I heard the other day that it takes 3 generations to forget history. I am doing all I can to insure that my grandchildren will both know and remember our history.
I have quite a few tales to tell as I share the steps my family took starting in Normandy and then to Cambridge. I hope this will encourage each of my readers to keep their own heroes and everyday family members and their stories alive by repeating tales to family today, recording, and preserving them for the generations to come.
All the days, weeks, and months of training are over. . . . The waiting and training are over. . . the warriors knew for certain as they received live ammunition for the first time.
And President Roosevelt wrote and delivered a special prayer asking God’s blessing on their endeavor.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer
On the night of June 6, 1944, President Roosevelt went on national radio to address the nation for the first time about the Normandy invasion. His speech took the form of a prayer.
The date and timing of the Normandy invasion had been top secret. During a national radio broadcast on June 5 about the Allied liberation of Rome, President Roosevelt made no mention of the Normandy operation, already underway at that time.
When he spoke to the country on June 6, the President felt the need to explain his earlier silence. Shortly before he went on the air, he added several handwritten lines to the opening of his speech that addressed that point. They read: “Last night, when I spoke to you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.”
Text of Radio Address – Prayer on D-Day, June 6, 1944:
“My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas — whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them–help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.
And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.
And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
On our way to the vast beaches by Les Gougins in Manche, just north of Utah Beach, we took a small detour to pay our respects in Angoville-au-Plain.
Hidden down ancient lanes long sunk into the Normandy countryside, Angoville is reached by a single track road.
This is a hamlet, not even a village; with a few tidy houses leading up to a well proportioned stone church, set within tended grounds.
A peaceful scene that hides shocking scars still visible from 1944.
On the night of 5/6 June the 101st Airborne division parachuted in behind Utah beach. One objective was to destroy a route essential to the German forces, the Cherbourg to Paris road near tiny Angoville-au-Plain.
Surrounded by the infamous ‘bocage’, a flattened countryside that hid bogs, dips and snipers, Angoville became the centre of intense battle before being briefly captured by the Americans.
Two medics of ‘Screaming Eagle’ 101st Airborne, Robert Wright and Kenneth Moore, with Lieutenant Ed Allworth, quickly went into action setting up an aid station inside the 11th century church at Angoville-au-Plain.
They braved open countryside to search for the injured, taking them back to the church to carry out life saving aid.
The battle intensifies
Shortly afterwards the Americans were forced to withdraw from the village. As the battle intensified Lt Allworth left the medics, aware that as a soldier if he stayed he would endanger the medics, and those in their care.
Kenneth Moore described that first evening:
“By the evening we had 75 of them (wounded personnel and one local infant, in the church). Our own folk had come to tell us that they could not stay any longer. So we we’re left with the wounded. A German Officer soon arrived and asked if I could tend to his wounded too. We accepted. During the night the churchyard was the scene of another battle.
Two of our casualties died. But among those I could tend, none lost their lives. I tended all sorts of wounds, some were skin deep but others were more serious abdominal cases.”
The battle for Angoville-au-Plain raged around the church for three days, with possession lurching back and forth between the two sides.
At one stage German troops forced their way in, but seeing the medics were impartially treating injured from both sides, withdrew and placed the international symbol of medical aid on the church door. The red cross flag.
A mortar hit the building causing further injuries but the medics struggled on. To their shock on 7 June two German observers surrendered to them, after hiding all that time in the church tower!
By 8 June the battle was finally over and Angoville-au-Plain became the established headquarters of Robert F Sink, the officer in command of the 506th PIR Robert and Kenneth had a well earned sleep.
Tributes in Angoville-au-Plain
Today across from the church, like so many villages in once ravaged Normandy, is a war memorial with two flags. One French and one American.
Unusually this memorial is not carved with a long list of dead; it is a celebration of lives saved.
‘In honour and in recognition of Robert E. Wright, Kenneth J. Moore. Medics 2nd Bn 501 PIR 101st Airborne Division. For humane and life saving care rendered to 80 combatants and a child in this church in June 1944.’
Inside the Church the shattered glass has been replaced, thanks to kind donations, and remembers the bravery of 101stAirborne Division. The windows illustrating parachutists, and of course an eagle, are unlike any we have seen before in a Normandy church.
The bloody scars of Angoville-au-Plain
All war leaves scars. Many can be hidden by time, some cannot.
The scars of Angoville-au-Plain are in the church. They are not the bullet holes or the windows showing soldiers and battle. They are the still blood-stained pews that served as hospital beds for 80 brutalised casualties of war.
It is impossible to calculate how many people, then and now, owe their lives to Kenneth and Robert’s bravery.
We do know that for their efforts in saving 80 lives under atrocious conditions, Kenneth and Robert were both awarded the Silver Star.
On my visit to Normandy in July 2017, we walked down the country lane to this unassuming church. The road wound through fields marked with the hedge rows though lovely to see were so daunting to the paratroopers and other warriors making their way through them in June 1944.
As I look back, this church and the tales it holds along with La Friere Bridge are the most meaningful for me. The bridge where my brother Sgt. George Tullidge fought until he was mortally wounded and the church where the brave American medics cared for all in need. . . both Allied and Axis soldiers represent the American spirit of bravery, care and unselfishness giving their all for freedom and justice.
A Hindu Nationalist Wave May Lift Modi to Victory published by the Wall Street Journal
Conflict with Pakistan and media-savvy supporters have boosted the Indian prime minister’s prospects.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks in Kolkata, April 3.PHOTO: RUPAK DE CHOWDHURI/REUTERS
India’s 900 million eligible voters head to the polls in an election staggered over six weeks starting April 11. With nationalist sentiment surging after a confrontation with Pakistan, and the opposition in disarray, an outcome that appeared uncertain a few months ago looks exceedingly likely: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, is poised to win a second term.
Opinion polls and anecdotal evidence suggest Mr. Modi remains popular. Many Indians believe the BJP is fulfilling its promise of economic renewal, military prowess, corruption-free governance and restored national greatness.
Concerns about Hindu-nationalist attacks on government critics, human-rights groups like Lawyers Collective and Amnesty International, and religious minorities—especially Muslims—do not appear to resonate beyond a small English-speaking urban elite. So far, opposition Congress Party President Rahul Gandhi—the son, grandson and great-grandson of prime ministers—has failed to emerge as a credible contender.
None of this guarantees victory for Mr. Modi. Fifteen years ago another BJP-led government looked similarly poised to romp to re-election, only to suffer a shocking defeat to the Congress Party. Mr. Modi’s popularity notwithstanding, the BJP remains a marginal presence across large swaths of southern and eastern India. This leaves Mr. Modi’s party little room for error in its traditional strongholds in the north and west.
Still, the smart money remains on India returning Mr. Modi to office, albeit as the head of a coalition with fewer seats than before.
Five years after Mr. Modi led the BJP to India’s first single-party majority in 30 years, his image as a selfless and self-made leader is largely intact. In more than two dozen interviews I conducted in Delhi and the populous Hindi heartland state of Uttar Pradesh, respondents spoke of the prime minister’s “good character” and sincere desire to improve India. For some Hindu voters, he holds a quasireligious appeal. An Uber driver from the industrial city of Ghaziabad likened Mr. Modi to Lord Rama, revered by pious Hindus as the epitome of a just king.
Despite a clutch of state-election victories last year, Mr. Gandhi pales in comparison to Mr. Modi. At a dusty roadside restaurant two hours outside Delhi, a group of sugarcane farmers sat on string beds and sipped sweet, milky tea. When asked about Mr. Gandhi, 41-year-old Sanjay Chauhan shook his head. “He doesn’t even know how to speak,” he said in Hindi. “Why should we have to endure him?”
Congress Party officials attribute their leader’s image to a malicious misinformation campaign on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter that portrays Mr. Gandhi as a bumbling man-boy unable to string together two coherent thoughts. They may have a point. In person, Mr. Gandhi comes across as thoughtful and well-mannered, though not particularly charismatic. Nonetheless, the damage has been done. Rehabilitating their leader’s image remains a long-term challenge for the party.
A divided opposition also benefits Mr. Modi. In Uttar Pradesh, for instance, the Congress Party failed to come to an agreement with two large caste-based parties that could have consolidated the opposition. In a recent YouTube video, Shekhar Gupta, a prominent journalist and political commentator, described opposition parties as having a “death wish.”
In contrast, Mr. Modi and BJP President Amit Shah have stitched together a string of alliances with smaller regional and caste-based parties, including those led by politicians known to have misgivings about Mr. Modi’s imperious style of leadership.
Add to this the BJP’s ability to shape the national narrative. The party and its ideological fellow-travelers use attack-dog TV channels, a shrill army of social-media shills and a web of fake-news sites and WhatsApp groups to impugn critics’ patriotism and discredit any message that clashes with the party line.
Last month a petition signed by 108 economists and social scientists—including several based at U.S. universities—questioned “political interference” in official Indian economic statistics. A group of 131 pro-BJP chartered accountants responded quickly by certifying their faith in government data. International experts who question whether India’s February airstrikes in Pakistan hit their targets, or who play down the significance of an antisatellite-weapon test last month, immediately find themselves under attack from Modi supporters online and in Indian media.
Experts point out that electoral bonds introduced by the government two years ago formalize opaque corporate funding that disproportionately benefits the BJP. The ruling party nonetheless touts the bonds as a major campaign-finance reform.
In the long run, shutting down debate hurts India’s ability to learn from mistakes. For now, it adds to the BJP’s electoral edge.
The Congress Party hopes that by promising grand welfare programs—including a minimum-income scheme to grant handouts of about $1,000 a year to some 50 million poor families—it can claw back power. But the BJP is selling a story that many people want to believe, of a resurgent India feared by its enemies and respected by its friends. Stopping the Modi juggernaut won’t be easy.
Appeared in the April 5, 2019, print edition.
This is the last in a three day focus on Incredible India. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to live , travel there, and love her amazing people. Most people will not have that opportunity but it is important other than happy memories for me. In just a few years, India will become the most populous country on earth due to the massive loss of life in China under the one child per family policy. India has massive problems, without a doubt, but she also has intelligent, creative innovators with a spirit no passion for innovation, brilliant internet innovators ,and problem solving engineers, and gifted physicians. India has much good work to meet the needs of her 1.3 billion souls. She has the most educated 20 year old waiting, not too patiently, to tackle the problems of woman/man kind!
(Let me introduce you to PM Modi who is up for reelection in India beginning tomorrow. This post was before Mr. Modi’s first national election. I have written quite a few posts on Mr. Modi. If you would like to read them type in Modi in the search bar. I thought this one is the most interesting an introduction before either election !) Incredible India!
Opinionated Man(aopinionatedman.com) is asking for posts from people who value the importance of voicing his/her opinion. So here sits this white, American woman talking about Mr. Modi, the current Chief Minister in Gujarat, India! Why you might ask? We stayed in Ahmedabad, the capital city of Gujarat, for four months. India is just on the precipice, poised to either soar to the heavens or continue in timidity while remaining under the control of a royal family! What, the British handed over the country in 1947, you might say? But when they left, the Nehru/Gandhi family was there to step in. More about them later.
First, I want to introduce Mr. Modi to you. From the picture you can see his vision and though words are cheap, he has lived by them. He was born in Gujarat into a lower, middle class family. His first entrance into business was with his brother as teenagers running a tea stall near the train terminal. He worked his way up through the ranks in the pre-BJP. to the BJP of today. In 2001, he was ready to step into the failing shoes of Mr. Patel, and replace the inept administrator ,who was accused of corruption and abuse of power . Mr. Modi believed in privatization, capitalism, small government, and this began his rise to “rock star” status.
In. 2002, there were wide-spread anit-Muslim riots in Gujarat. Radical Muslims had burned a train of Hindu pilgrims and this began the riots. Mr. Modi has been accused of turning a blind eye to the Muslim persecution, but a court has ruled that he was not complicit in these horrendous crimes. The accusations have continued and the US has denied him a visa for a visit several times because of demonstrations here. In America, I thought someone is considered innocent until proven guilty? I wonder what will happen if he is appointed Prime Minister? Since 2002, there have been no more anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat.
In the mean time, Glittering Gujarat has begun to shine in India and the world under his leadership. He has been elected three times by his constituents and there is evidence as to why. Gujarat is the fastest growing state in India, the economy is the fastest growing in India, best IT area ( Mr. Modi is quite proud that all his police are computer literate), and in a country where place after place that we visited had blackouts of electricity, Gujurat is selling excess back to the company. I remember only once in all the time that we were there , a black out of only a few minutes. The agriculture profits have grown to 9.6% , the highest in this mostly agrarian country and he has a triving International Kite Festival and hosted an international conference on economics this year. One statistic that I was amazed at was that when Mr. Modi became CM, there were 11 colleges in and around Ahmedabad and now there are 42! It is being called the Boston of India. All those young people are poised to take on the world! Mr. Modi says that India has the largest population of educated youth in the world. ( China has the one child family planning policy.) The young people are energized and love Mr. Modi. He is their hope for positive change. Tourism is up 30% in two years thanks in part to the “Breathe in a Bit of Gujarat) beautiful professionally made commercials These promote tourist destinations and are narrated the beloved Bollywood star, Amatabh Bachchan who is set to film his third round of promotions.
Now to the Congress Party , the party in power nationally. I was shocked watching them on TV and reminded of the royal family in Britain with their distance from the people and seemingly bored indifference. Dr. Singh, who is the Prime Minister, never speaks, doesn’t hold news conferences or connect with the people. It is said that he is the ” place holder” until Rahul, who is the current VP, is ready to be Prime Minister. He will be the fifth generation of this family to be in power, if his party is reelected. The Guardian paper had a very clear quote about the Gandhi family(2007) :
“The Nehru/Gandhi family brand has no peer in the world-a member of the Gandhi family has been in charge of India for 40 of the 60 years since independence. The allure of India’s first family blend the right to rule of the British monarchy with the tragic glamour of the American Kennedy clan.”
Mr. Rahul Gandhi appears distant and disinterested on TV. He has made no major contributions to the country and is merely waiting his coronation,unless the people of India have had enough of this family and their lack- luster contributions to the country. India continues the Parliamentarian form of elections so there is no direct election of Prime Minister, as is the case in Britain.
Let me finish with two Narendra Modi stories. When asked if he was going to provide each student with a laptop upon graduation he replied, ” I am providing a good education so that they can get a good job and buy their own laptop!”
During the horror and tragedy in Uttarakhand this year, the government and many of the the states sent food and supplies in large buses , not thinking that roads were no longer accessible or even there. Mr. Modi sent helicopters filled with supplies and saved many stranded , hungry souls.
Naremdra Modi is a smart, seasoned politician. He has vision and the will to carry it out with hard work and determination. He has a proven record in Gujarat as charismatic, a vibrant eloquent speaker, and a leader to give hope and tools to the youth of India. He may be a Rambo, sometimes in style, but his state loves him and what he has done to bring prosperity to all Gujarati citizens. He is ready now to take his “Modi Model” to the whole country and be the leader for all of India. India is ready to become a leader in the world but they need a strong leader to guide them. Namo Modi is the man!
( People laugh at me and says I should be Mr. Modi’s American campaign manager….hmmm.. . . . .. . . “Namo, I am waiting by the phone!”)
National Elections in India are coming beginning on April 11 and ending on May 19. Imagine, there are nine phases and yes, people stand in line for hours to cast a vote. Then they soak a finger in dark ink to verify their responsibility has been completed. In 2017 there were 1.339 billion souls in Incredible India.
An Indian friend told me that voting is very important to the poorest of the poor. . . the Daliet or Children of God so named by Mahatma Gandhi. It is the belief in India on voting day that everyone is equal with one ballot .!
(especially in South Asia) a hermitage, monastic community, or other place of religious retreat
Sunday is a perfect time to visit Gandhi’s Ashram in Ahmadabad. In fact any day in the midst of the hustle and bustle of this crowded center of commerce, stop by to breath deeply and take in some serenity . On the weekends there are many families having an historical outing with their children. There are often large groups of school children on a field trip to a historical site. Indians are very proud of their culture and history and rightly so. teachers take their students on field trips on weekends. Great idea.
In the video notice the amazing open building which is the center of the Ashram. It is the museum building where “things” would normally be housed and put on display. Gandhi had no “things”, he had only words and ideas which are on display as you wonder in and out of the open building. Oh yes, and there are pictures of his demonstrations and marches. Gandhi and his wife lived here for many years and it is said that here he planned the March to the Sea which is often referred to as the beginning of the journey which lead to freedom from Britain.
The video is long so watch as much as you like. I thought it the best and couldn’t bear to choose a shorter one!