"We’ll start the war from here" Utah Beach, June 6th 1944.
~Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt

"We’ll start the war from here" Utah Beach, June 6th 1944.

~Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt

Half Way Point, Butterfly Wings, and Grains of Sand.

Battlefield Cant’s Kickstarter has reached the 50% mark in its first week. I’m so excited. This week has been wonderful seeing people who believe in the project and me express this by backing the project. Every time I would hit refresh on my browser, a thrill would go through me and more times than not, a new backer would show. Exciting!

So a few things have been going through me head, let me share this thought. For those that know me, they know I’m an avid paintballer. Our team participates in a yearly event called, ION, short for “Invasion of Normandy”. It’s where 4,000 paintballers play a kind of reenactment of… you guessed it, the landings at Normandy. Paintball is exciting, but when you start the game from a wooden prop “Higgens” boat and have to cross a field facing 2,000 dug in German players it is exhilarating. I have the honor of being a “Company Commander” and this gives me access to the inside track of the game by being part of a command structure of about 16 players. We are all passionate, and a great group of players with years of experience to lead the allies to certain victory against the Germans. While planning the game, I wanted to bestow something to this dedicated group of commanders and thought of grabbing some sand from the landing beaches when I made my planned trip. A totem/token to help guide us while we played the game, and to remind us that 67 years ago, it was no game, yet a battle for life and death with countries and races hanging in the balance.

So I bought zipper baggies in Carentan and took samples of sand from Omaha and Utah beach. As I reverently filled them kneeling in the sand my mind wandered to how I could integrate them with the photographs. Put them in the emulsion? Glue them to the frames? And a few more dumb ideas to this mix that I will spare you. In the end, glass vials containing the sand would win out. It was a small idea, a little thing. Sometimes little things have a way of turning into big things, and my small gesture of giving the sand to my fellow Company Commanders for a game played at Skirmish in Jim Thorpe Pennsylvania turned out much larger, bigger than I supposed.

I received much gratitude from the lucky 16 who got the vials, and I also hooked up our scout, Jake, 16 years old. All weekend I had people walking up to me seeing if I had a few more vials of sand hiding in our campsite. A good number of the Commanders were x-military and for them, it held a special place in their hearts. One guy got teary eyed as we discussed what it was like to shoot film on the beaches 67 years after guns were fired.

I got an email later about NPR being at the game and writing a short piece on the games uniqueness. I listened to the audio file from “all things considered” and it had interviews from key people at ION. Our beloved XO, Nyxx Valor was explaining how serious some people take the game, and she mentioned the vial of sand in a reverent manner. The night before she was surprised by me when I gifted the command with the sand, and what I thought was a small gesture, reverberated its way to the air waves and hearts of many more than I had imagined it would.

The ordinary can become extraordinary, grains of sand transform to objects of reverence, day dreams into actions, small things can take on a life of their own, and become much larger then the idea they were born of. This is our greatest ability in our humanity, the ability to do things bigger than us, when every grain of sand matters. We soar when butterfly wings bring rains, when actions rise above intentions, when we create positive influences by the simplest of thoughts and gestures.

Thank you for supporting the project thus far, or consider supporting. 

David Brommer,

August 7th, New York City.

Read  the NPR article here: 

http://n.pr/nF502J

Battlefield Cant- Normandy Fields
"That’s what we found the next morning, the four of us, although we didn’t relize at first whose plane it was. The plane was out in a field beyond where we had landed. It was all torn up, burned, pieces of aluminum, dead bodes, so we didn’t spend much time there. This kind of thing happened and you didn’t dwell on it, you just got back to business."
Forrest Guth, Easy Company, 101st. PIR  

Battlefield Cant- Normandy Fields

"That’s what we found the next morning, the four of us, although we didn’t relize at first whose plane it was. The plane was out in a field beyond where we had landed. It was all torn up, burned, pieces of aluminum, dead bodes, so we didn’t spend much time there. This kind of thing happened and you didn’t dwell on it, you just got back to business."

Forrest Guth, Easy Company, 101st. PIR  

Battlefield Cant- Dog Green Sector, Omaha Beach
"I started out to cross the beach with thirty five men, and only 6 got the top. That’s all"
2nd Lt. Bob Edlin

Battlefield Cant- Dog Green Sector, Omaha Beach

"I started out to cross the beach with thirty five men, and only 6 got the top. That’s all"

2nd Lt. Bob Edlin

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.
Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

Battlefield Cant: Mary of the Bullitt, Church in Saint Marie Du Mont, Normandy.
 Excerpt from “A Paratrooper’s Prayer”
All mighty God, Our heavenly Father, who art above us, and beneath us, drive from the minds of our paratroopers any fear of space in which thou art ever present. Give them confidence in the strength of thine everlasting arms to uphold them. Endure them with clean minds and hearts that they may participate worthily in the victory which this nation must achieve.
George B’Wood, Major Chaplain 82nd Airborne.

Battlefield Cant: Mary of the Bullitt, Church in Saint Marie Du Mont, Normandy.

 Excerpt from “A Paratrooper’s Prayer”

All mighty God, Our heavenly Father, who art above us, and beneath us, drive from the minds of our paratroopers any fear of space in which thou art ever present. Give them confidence in the strength of thine everlasting arms to uphold them. Endure them with clean minds and hearts that they may participate worthily in the victory which this nation must achieve.

George B’Wood, Major Chaplain 82nd Airborne.

Battlefield Cant: Pointe Du Hoc, Normandy.
The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers, at the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.
Ronald Reagan, June 6, 1984
Pointe Du Hoc.

Battlefield Cant: Pointe Du Hoc, Normandy.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers, at the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After two days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.

Ronald Reagan, June 6, 1984
Pointe Du Hoc.

Sunrise, Omaha Beach: Dog Green Sector. Digital Photograph of the ground glass view from my Deardorff 8x10 with Dagor 8 1/4 Lens.  April 21 2011

Sunrise, Omaha Beach: Dog Green Sector. Digital Photograph of the ground glass view from my Deardorff 8x10 with Dagor 8 1/4 Lens.  April 21 2011