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Beauty in the Middle of War
The above photo was taken by my father who was a medic in the Sixth Armored Division and served under George Patton. After Operation Cobra that sent the 6th through the Brittany Peninsula all the way to Brest, Patton's armor faced west and crossed France on their way to Germany. I am in the process of scanning old negatives from photos Dad took and also reading his letters home to my grand parents here in KY. He doesn't say a lot about the conditions he endured but I can read between the lines. A good book on the 6th AD is available and traces their exploits from the landing in Normandy to the end of the war. I hope to put all of my father's images and letters together with historical accounts and make a video documentary. The project at the moment is daunting. Lots of information to assimilate.
Crossing the Seine was a milestone. Most of France would be cleared of Nazi's by the end of 1944. December would bring the Battle of the Bulge but that story will be addressed at a later time. I find this photo to be remarkable in its composition, lighting and simple beauty. A woman with her bicycle standing by the bridge waiting for the troops to cross. The sun is low in the sky and setting. She can see that the end of the day is near as she proceeds on her journey. The imagery is symbolic of the days to come. The Sun had burned bright on the rise of Hitler's Germany but is setting just as suredly as the sun sets every day. She looks to the west and perhaps is thinking that the enemy front is receding too. But today, her liberators are passing by. Today is time for rejoicing.
All this in a photo you ask? Yes, and more. Consider for yourself how events change. We can go through dark times indeed. My father writes about enduring hardship but his faith held him on solid ground. God Bless America.