ABSTRACT

The bronze wreaths at the World War II memorial in Washington D.C. remind me of the wreaths at my grandfather’s funeral. Walking through the monument’s pavilion pillars dedicated to the Pacific and Atlantic, I hear my grandfather’s stories about driving a truck of supplies in the French countryside, and meeting two French children, a sister and brother named Monique and Gilbert. The circulinear paths of the memorial remind me of his patience as he taught me to ride a bike. He died on the anniversary of D-Day in 2006, and at his funeral, a few days later, I was struck that exactly 62 years earlier, he was hauling bodies from the beaches of Normandy: the gruesome task left to those arriving three days after the initial storm. At home during the war, my grandmother was part of an army of women who canned, rationed, and made do to conserve vital materials for the war effort. Of course, as she tells it, these were just common sense tasks her family adopted during the Great Depression.