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Vol. 18, No. 6, 2019
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Robert J. Lewis
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Louis René Beres
Nick Catalano
Chris Barry
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Jordan Adler
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Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

part I



Nick Catalano is a TV writer/producer and Professor of Literature and Music at Pace University. He reviews books and music for several journals and is the author of Clifford Brown: The Life and Art of the Legendary Jazz Trumpeter, New York Nights: Performing, Producing and Writing in Gotham , A New Yorker at Sea,, Tales of a Hamptons Sailor and his most recent book, Scribble from the Apple. For Nick's reviews, visit his website:

I am in Normandy strolling among the dead in the American cemetery adjacent to Omaha Beach. Seventy five years ago thousands of G.I.s came here and died. As I move through the rows of gravestones on an overcast day the silence is deafening. No one is here. I gaze painfully at names on the graves and tears begin to well up in my eyes. I ponder the numbers of the dead -- 9,388 soldiers are buried here, 307 of them unknown. I think of their ages -- many youngsters in their teens -- and I begin to sob. I randomly stop at a grave and see a name -- Harry C. Clark, a fellow New Yorker in plot H row 9 grave 30, a sergeant in the 747th Tank Battalion. Now my sobbing deepens. I’ve been to Auschwitz, lived through 9/11,written about both horrors while maintaining my writer’s cool . . . but have never cried as hard or as long as I can remember.

Why is my sobbing so strong? I think about the soldiers buried here mostly kids -- teenagers like the ones in my university classes back home. These kids came here to fight Hitler and most knew they would probably never come home. The soldiers here had no agenda of imperialistic gain like other armies in the miserable history of warfare. They were fighting for freedom in the most honorable war effort in American history. As FDR said “ . . . they fight not for the lust of battle. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise . . . They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home . . . Some will never return.”

I walk along the grass among the gravestones with Christian crosses and Stars of David . . . the silence amplifies my gasps and groans as I wipe away at the tears . . . and keep wondering why I can’t stop whimpering . . . Maybe it’s because all of this happened during the early years of my life . . . maybe it’s because I know that so much of the sorrow of 75 years ago has been forgotten and that in another 75 years it will become a dimmer blip in history. Maybe it’s because all the films about Normandy enabled me to see soldiers faces and hear their banter . . . it’s probably a combination of all of this and also my horrible imaginings of what it must have been like here as these youngsters died so violently by the thousands.

I say a final goodbye to Harry C. Clark as I leave the cemetery to move a short distance to Omaha Beach. I’m grieving because I know that no one will ever write about Harry or mention his name again . . .

On the beach I gaze across the Channel at the English coast. I collect some beach sand as the waves lap against the shore. I envision the LST’s at dawn on June 6th lowering their bows and the soldiers jumping into the water as machine gun fire from German bunkers slaughters many even before they can get onto land. As I walk I can’t count all the bomb craters and artillery holes that are still here from so long ago. I recall the words of Colonel George Taylor,“ There are two kinds of people who are staying on this beach: those who are dead and those who are going to die. Now let’s get the hell out of here.” I see the boys from the 1st and 29th American infantry divisions crawling up the beach past Hitler’s Atlantic wall. The broken and bloody bodies are flying everywhere as the ceaseless mortar and machine gun fire rages on . . . New tears pour down my cheeks.

I walk a short distance and look up at the 100 foot cliff of Pointe du Hoc -- a promontory where the Germans had installed their mightiest 155 mm cannon, alone capable of sinking allied ships and completely halting invasion efforts. At dawn on June 6th 260 soldiers of the 2nd Ranger Battalion had incredibly scampered up the cliff without suffering a single casualty. At the top they discovered that the gun had been dismantled and was useless -- one of the inevitable ironies of D-day. Their jubilation was short because as they moved inland during the afternoon of the next day the German artillery mowed them down and most of them died.

As I walk over to the American museum, I stop along the path to see photos and written profiles of soldiers who died at Normandy . I stare at the photos thinking of these youngsters who would never live a full life, would never enjoy family and friends, would never love or laugh at memories in old age.

As I move on to the other beaches -- Utah, Sword, Gold, and Juno -- my depression deepens because I know most of the world has already forgotten about these dead soldiers. Tragically, as the years pass so much of important history evaporates in the collective unconscious. This inevitable forgetfulness is one of the factors that leads to further war and killing.

In the next issue I will retrace some of the strategies and events that enabled the Normandy landing to penetrate the Nazi war machine. Of all America’s war involvements, some of which have questionable motivation, it stands as the most notable chapter in the nation’s efforts to help free the world from tyranny.


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Every war delivers an anti-war message; but we just don't seem to get it. Why?
This is a beautiful and poignant article, well written, looking forward to the next one.

Thank you Nick for such a heartfelt tribute. Your words ring true. It is up to us to remember and to remind others of their sacrifice.

I have been to both Normandy and Auschwitz; both places bring immediate tears when I reflect back -- even to this morning. You cry because you cannot really comprehend the horror and fear they endured. It would be very sad for anyone not to be emotionally at such a solemn, sacred site.

Bring us a world devoid of hatred, filled instead with peace.

Thank you,
Professor Bill Schwendner
Nice tribute to the fallen, Nick. Denny
A magnificently written commentary. You captured the Heart of your readers.
You delved into the soul and made us understand the pain of warfare, of loss and futility.
Continue to enlighten us.
Louise Cella Caruso

By Nick Catalano:
Kenneth Branagh & Shakespeare
Remembering Maynard Ferguson
Reviewers & Reviewing
The Vagaries of Democracy
Racism Debunked
The Truth Writer
#Me Too Cognizance in Ancient Greece
Above the Drowning Sea
A New York Singing Salon
Rockers Retreading
Polish Jewry-Importance of Historical Museums
Sexual Relativity and Gender Revolution
Inquiry into Constitutional Originalism
Aristotle: Film Critic
The Maw of Deregulated Capitalism
Demagogues: The Rhetoric of Barbarism
The Guns of August
Miles Ahead and Born to Be Blue
Manon Lescaut @The Met
An American in Paris
What We Don't Know about Eastern Culture
Black Earth (book review)
Cuban Jazz
HD Opera - Game Changer
Film Treatment of Stolen Art
Stains and Blemishes in Democracy
Intersteller (film review)
Shakespeare, Shelley & Woody Allen
Mystery and Human Sacrifice at the Parthenon
Carol Fredette (Jazz)
Amsterdam (book review)
Vermeer Nation
The Case for Da Vinci's Demons


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