After yesterday’s attacks I was thinking of this Belgian woman I met last summer. We were both camping in Arromanche, and her husband and I bonded (non-vocally, natch) about the confusing washing machines at camp.
Eventually, she came around and struck up a conversation in English with me. She and her husband were visiting Normandy and had been at the American Memorial Cemetary for most of the day.
She told me that there had been a little girl in Belgium during World War II, and there was no way she could explain, so that I would understand and feel, the horror of the war and the gratitude she felt on D-Day and during liberation me across Europe.
She and her husband had spent the day at the cemetery, walking from grave to grave for as long as they could, saying a word of blessing and gratitude to each fallen soldier.
Before we parted and I went back to camp, the sweet Belgian lady gave me a list of things to do in Belgium if we had time to travel north. I still have it, tucked in with other paper memories from the trip.