The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois on June 7, 1994 · Page 9
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The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois · Page 9

Bloomington, Illinois
Issue Date:
Tuesday, June 7, 1994
Page 9
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WORLD THE PANTAGRAPH, Tuesday, June 7, 1994 A :m Some beach scenes OMAHA BEACH, France (AP) -At dawn under a drizzle, on D-Day plus 50 years, the same gray shapes loom again out on the choppy sea. This time, the beach is empty but for a curious little band: a few Italian war buffs in costume, an American who took a flag for a swim and newspeople. "Move along," commanded two French cops, who for unknown reasons wanted to end this early-morning communion with history. No one paid any attention, and the cops wandered off. "HEY!!" shouted a television cameraman, a little later, as he panned what he wanted to be a swath of empty sand. That cleared the beach. Off-camera at D-Day ceremonies, poignancy is masked by shades of P,T. Barnum. Big events usually breed a media circus and general confusion. But here the scene falls somewhere beyond the surreal. ,For one thing, an ad hoc army of non-veterans is parading around in bodgepodge camouflage Gulf War chocolate chip, Vietnam tiger add the rest seeking separate statements to make. .On D-Day plus 50 years, that fit the mood. In a cemetery for 21,000 Germans who died for the Fatherland, ex-Wehrmacht officers stepped on soldiers' graves to hug (he men who killed them. " Sometimes imagination ran to the extreme. JThe American on the beach was Mark Rooney, a 30-year-old banker who lives in Prague. "You try to find an American flag in the Czech Republic," he said. He got his in Zurich. KRooney wanted to honor his uncle, a D-Day veteran. A Bostonian, he was used to cold water. So he D-DAY From A1 Germany 11 months later. ? On a damp, windy day much like that of the momentous day a half-century ago, Clinton, Queen Elizabeth II and other leaders of the Allied nations presided solemnly at aT series of ceremonies along the Normandy coast ( ;The climax was a multinational commemoration at Omaha Beach, scene of D-Day's bloodiest combat ;"I thank you for the world's freedom," the French president, Francois Mitterrand, said. "What we won that day on the Normandy beaches was our freedom today." a Earlier, Mitterrand and Clinton placed wreaths at a monument to U.S. soldiers at Utah Beach, then went to a British cemetery at Bay-eux with Queen Elizabeth. "The Europe which we know today could not exist had not the tide of war been turned here in Normandy 50 years ago," the British monarch said. 'Throughout the region, there was fog, mist and light rain, the kind of weather the Allies encountered on D'-Day. The queen wore a beige rain cape; veterans huddled against the chill in hats and wind-breakers. "A11 gave some, some gave all," read matching white windbreakers worn by Edwin Pound, 78, a former P-47 Thunderbolt pilot from Ocoee, Fla., and other members of the 404th Fighter Group, U.S. 9th Air Force. ; Younger members of the audiences were impressed, including French children who fanned out through the grandstands getting veterans to autograph their programs. ' "To actually stand here is beyond belief," said Staff Sgt. Edmund Sealey, 25, of Cleveland, Tenn., now a soldier in the U.S. Army's 82nd Airborne Division, which played a key role in the invasion. "To see the actual veterans ... to actually shake their hands, it was a kind of passing of 1e torch." j Clinton was late for the U.S.French ceremony at Utah Beach, and boos greeted an announcement that he would not be on time. Free Estimates A Built by V I -? Bloomington's ,41k " , . oldest and ' 2&Car Garage FINEST BUILDERS... ' X BULLOCK 1 , J L, f $4QQC v kr' Pius fin NOTHING DOWN ISSt "fl A 95"permo. "tr , p-rT -1 We Use Only Quality Lumber - .;''"''L rJ and Materials! swam out 200 yards and came back. In an invasion replay, a lone guy in surfer shorts took Omaha Beach. Although nearly half the Allied troops followed other flags, the show around Omaha and Utah Beaches was strictly Franco-American. The people of St Laurent entertained U.S. veterans until 3 o'clock in the morning, presenting each with a pebble from Omaha Beach set on a base of Baccarat crystal. All around there were scenes of it-could-only-happen-in-France. An engineer from Mobile, Ala., brought his family to stay with his wartime girlfriend, a Resistance fighter he met while his wife was still his fiancee back home. He had briefed his daughter. "My mom learned this when the , woman announced it at dinner," the daughter said, laughing. "By then Mom had already invited her to Mobile." She and. the Frenchwoman's daughter are good friends, and both assume their mothers will get along fine after 50 years. With all the VIPs, media people and other outsiders, at times it ."I don't think he has any idea of what the rest of us went through," said Ken Halle of San Diego, who landed on Omaha Beach as a member of Battery B, 32nd Field Artillery, 1st Infantry Division. "But more than that, I think how he kept these thousands of people out here in the cold, waiting." But Clinton's speech at Omaha won some respect "It was very even-handed and pretty good for a guy who was born after the war," said Bill Shanahan, a veteran from Philadelphia. Memorial services Were spread ' ' across Normandy, drawing leaders of all the countries that participated in the invasion: the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, Belgium, France, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand,. Norway, Poland and the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which were then the single nation , of Czechoslovakia. They all came together at Omaha Beach, watching squads of soldiers open the ceremony by marching across the sand behind a file of flag bearers as warships floated off shore. President Lech Walesa of Poland clapped proudly when a high-stepping Polish army band passed the podium. Clinton began the day at Pointe du Hoc, where 225 U.S. Army Rangers clambered up ladders and ropes to get to the top of a 120-foot-high cliff under German fire in one of D-Day's bloodiest clashes. In two days of fighting, 135 of the Rangers were killed or wounded. "The most difficult days of your lives bought us 50 years of freedom," Clinton told Ranger veterans. "You did your job, now we must do ours." In the Norman city of Caen, more than 60,000 people attended an outdoor sound-and-light show re-enacting the siege and libera- a 100 Financing fall beyond surreal . Jt- ' . " Vf V s" A French amphibious landing craft hit the shore at Omaha Beach on the Normandy coast during D-Day observances Monday. Anchored In the background were the USS San Jacinto, a guided missile cruiser, left, and the USS Tortuga, an amphibious dock landing ship. seemed like the veterans were an afterthought. Jack Weaver, 79, of League City, Tex., sat dejected at L'Omaha Bistro and watched non-veterans stream into the stands for the main tion of France. More than 2,000 actors played out the Nazi occupation, deportation of Jews and mobilization of the French Resistance. About a dozen parachutists glided out of the night sky, representing Allied paratroopers who liberated French towns and linked up with the in fS) FARMTOWH Silver Mark The Mark ol Quality A steel belted tire designed performance mm P1657B0R-13 P17580R-13 P1B580R-13 P18575R-14 P19575R-14 P20575R-14 An ail position steel belted radial tire designed to give excellent mileage, even wear and is M & S rated for all terrain traction. 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Mitterrand, mentioning the carnage in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda, urged the world to find a message of peace in D-Day. SPRING VALUES radial passenger car to give great , See Bets;p0iyester Cord Body In all seasons. . Greater T(ead Width Uniform Tread Depth Across Entire Tire Surface 40.000 Mile Wear-Out Warranty $43.35 43.35 47.60 50.15 51.00 51.85 P21575R-14 $53.55 P20575B-15 55.25 P21575R-15 56.95 P22S75B-15 61.20 P23575R-15 63.75 Country Squire Radial MP $109.95 99.95 102.85 114.75 50,000 mile treadwear limited warranty 99.95 118.95 113.95 Brake Sendee Front or Rsusr $59.95 hplaoi M$ ir than, nunftrtuaiw M I drum, npe wtwi beerinp, inspect caliper! Iar cylinders. Inspect rturiv cinder, aoual m bnkn, new pm mtt and raid twt Wt- I h ante (20 attn. Irvxto and mart picad I Most can Coupon expires 6-30-94 ,x i I McLean Co. Service Co. RUUSouth Ph. 6U-9321 M-FHto5:39 Siteto? ,f I . , , Store for La Ladies DOWNTOWN PONTIAC 215 West Madison St lust WEST of the Square 815-844-7791 About the reporter, designer poignant series of stories commemorating the historic D-Day assault was reported by award-winning feature writer James Keeran. The package of stories and artwork was designed by David Proeber, The Pantagraph's photography editor. Keeran spent more than 80 hours interviewing area residents who participated In the D-Day assault on fortress Europe and writing of their harrowing experiences. Keeran, a Pantagraph newsroom employee since 1966, has won numerous writing awards, including feature and column awards from the Associated Press and Southern Illinois University. Proeber, who joined The Pantagraph In 1992, has won photography and page design awards from AP, Inland Press Associated and the Illinois Press Association. DIRTY WINDOWS WASHED! Scott'e Window Cloanlng Rmtaennai 828-0581 &6 M ) p . 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