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 Carentan O Carentan

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Dick Stodghill
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Dick Stodghill

Number of posts : 3795
Registration date : 2008-05-04
Age : 94
Location : Akron, Ohio

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PostSubject: Carentan O Carentan   Carentan O Carentan EmptyMon May 25, 2009 10:06 am

On Memorial Day I always read a poem by Louis Simpson about a beautiful little Normandy town I remember well:

Carentan O Carentan

Trees in the old days used to stand
And shape a shady lane
Where lovers wandered hand in hand
Who came from Carentan.

This was the shining green canal
Where we came two by two
Walking at combat-interval.
Such trees we never knew.

The day was early June, the ground
Was soft and bright with dew.
Far away the guns did sound,
But here the sky was blue.

The sky was blue, but there a smoke
Hung still above the sea
Where the ships together spoke
To towns we could not see.

Could you have seen us through a glass
You would have said a walk
Of farmers out to turn the grass,
Each with his own hay-fork.

The watchers in their leopard suits
Waited till it was time,
And aimed between the belt and boot
And let the barrel climb.

I must lie down at once, there is
A hammer at my knee.
And call it death or cowardice,
Don’t count again on me.

Everything’s all right, Mother,
Everyone gets the same
At one time or another.
It’s all in the game.

I never strolled, nor ever shall,
Down such a leafy lane.
I never drank in a canal,
Nor ever shall again.

There is a whistling in the leaves
And it is not the wind,
The twigs are falling from the knives
That cut men to the ground.

Tell me, Master-Sergeant,
The way to turn and shoot.
But the Sergeant’s silent
That taught me how to do it.

O Captain, show us quickly
Our place upon the map.
But the Captain’s sickly
And taking a long nap.

Lieutenant, what’s my duty,
My place in the platoon?
He too’s a sleeping beauty,
Charmed by that strange tune.

Carentan O Carentan
Before we met with you
We never yet had lost a man
Or known what death could do.
– Louis Simpson
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zadaconnaway
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zadaconnaway

Number of posts : 4017
Registration date : 2008-01-16
Age : 71
Location : Washington, USA

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PostSubject: Re: Carentan O Carentan   Carentan O Carentan EmptyMon May 25, 2009 11:17 am

Very fitting, Dick. I am glad you posted it for us.
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Dick Stodghill
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Dick Stodghill

Number of posts : 3795
Registration date : 2008-05-04
Age : 94
Location : Akron, Ohio

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PostSubject: Re: Carentan O Carentan   Carentan O Carentan EmptyMon May 25, 2009 12:45 pm

Thanks, Zada
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alice
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alice

Number of posts : 15672
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 72
Location : Redmond, WA

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PostSubject: Re: Carentan O Carentan   Carentan O Carentan EmptyMon May 25, 2009 12:52 pm

Haunting, Dick.

Thanks!
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Dick Stodghill
Five Star Member
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Dick Stodghill

Number of posts : 3795
Registration date : 2008-05-04
Age : 94
Location : Akron, Ohio

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PostSubject: Re: Carentan O Carentan   Carentan O Carentan EmptyMon May 25, 2009 3:18 pm

This is one side of the square in Carentan. An entire episode of "Band of Brothers" was devoted to the 101st Airborne's battle there. The arches over the sidewalk were shown in the film. In the fighting a mile south of town we had many men killed, including a battalion commander, two company commanders several lieutenants and dozens of enlisted men. It's a wonderful little town.

Carentan O Carentan Arches10
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Carol Troestler
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Carol Troestler

Number of posts : 3827
Registration date : 2008-06-07
Age : 81
Location : Wisconsin

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PostSubject: Re: Carentan O Carentan   Carentan O Carentan EmptyMon May 25, 2009 4:23 pm

I remember driving through those little towns on the 50th anniversary of D-Day. I have never seen so many American flags stretched across the roads.

You were not alone. We spoke with many there that day from the UK who had come across the channel once again. They had been seen off by the Queen Mother, and brought their own London taxis and drivers. We spent an evening with them at the hotel where we stayed in Calais, listening to stories such as yours. My husband talked to a man who arrived in a two-man sub two days before D-Day.

Carol
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