Monday, May 30, 2011
A beautiful sunny day, she and her classmates played soccer on Omaha Beach. None gave much thought to that day nearly 67 years ago the sand was sticky with blood. After they visited the American Cemetery and Memorial. They walked among the over 9,000 graves of mostly young men who gave their life during the D-Day landings and ensuring operations.
Unlike her peers, Miss Cornelia had a mission that day. Her mother had sent her on a quest on behalf of a grandmother she never knew and long deceased. She sought out the grave of Pvt. Gordon Mannix who had died barely two weeks after D-Day.
Less than three months earlier her mother had found Pvt. Mannix's letters to her grandmother, his high school art teacher begging her to write. The grandmother had found and encouraged, it seems, a rare artistic talent. She had helped him win a scholarship to art school. But he was drafted and off to war before he could accept.
I don't know if my mother ever wrote him. But finally, by some fate, part of her visited him and said goodbye.