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   Vol. 23 No. 27
Tuesday June 7, 2024

A Normandie Day Like None Other

Nadra Watson, Keala Watson, Claude Cardine, Kim Watson, Sasha Cardine, Sabiha Arend, Mylo Watson, Azra Cardine, Salim Cardine, Geoffrey Arend

     Here we are, Sabiha and I visiting at a limited family gathering with cousins who live in Normandie, France.
     Normandie spelled the way it is addressed in France, seems right on June 6, as we recall the place where everything was on the line 80 years ago.
      glass of Calvados raised this day, feels right at home.
     In the picture Cousin Claude with his stick recalls D-Day through the eyes of a child of three.
     Elsewhere the few others still alive in 2024 were unfortunate teenagers when they were thrown into the cauldron.
     The church bell tolls the relentless passing of time.
     Stateside 1944 at age three in Toledo, Ohio about 60 miles from Detroit, I recall our family from that time, now all sadly amongst the dearly departed, serving from 1940 until about 1946 at manufacturing centers at Willow Run (DTW) where the women aided in creating more than 8,000 B-25s.
     Our family also served at The Willys Overland factory in Toledo where the Jeep was invented and still is built there today.
     80 years, waves of jeeps, everyone of them painted green burped out of the factory by the tens of thousands where my aunts and other ladies worked, while the men in our family served in the U.S. Navy and elsewhere.
     In Bernay, Normandie where Cousin Claude and Cousin Azra still live in a beautiful Chateau built in 1745, you look at that date burned onto a support beam of the family barn and imagine some frantic men hightailing it out of town as the Allies rose off the beaches several miles away on June 6, 1944.
     Today at 83, Claude Cardine is a stylish Frenchman who classes up just about every place he visits. He doesn’t remember much of World War II except what his parents told him when they lived in the town of Brionne.
     What he does recall are the squadrons of fighters zooming about the sky above and bombers that were sent to destroy the bridge that spanned the river Risle near Brionne.
     “The aircraft came in waves again and again and my mother and father and my siblings were aware of the conflict, although we were safe and never felt threatened.
     “One day the bridge on Risle was gone and some homes in the town of Brionne were destroyed,” Claude ventured.
     “There are many examples of death and destruction in Normandie during that time, but I guess that’s war.
     “It’s an indelible memory even for a three-year-old boy,” Claude smiled.      “I’ve gone back to my former home in Brionne and thought of those days.
     “I also think about all of the people who sacrificed themselves so that Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, and the colors of the flag of France, could continue to lift our lives, ensuring that our children were born into freedom,” Claude Cardine said.
If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend • Editor Emeritus-Richard Malkin
Senior Contributing Editor/Special Commentaries-Marco Sorgetti • Special Commentaries Editor-Bob Rogers
Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend
• Film Editor-Ralph Arend

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