I recently had the honour to visit the Brittany American Cementery & Memorial just outside Saint James, Brittany France. As I arrived on a very wet October afternoon, I caught the end of a small commemoration service attended by some French veterans and local french school children. After the short service the children moved among the headstones placing small bunches of flowers at a number of graves. A number of the veterans also placed some flowers at one or two of the headstones perhaps honouring some of the soldiers they had met during the fighting after the D-Day landings in Normandy in 1944. While I walked among these 4,000 plus headstones I happened by chance to find one bearing the same name as my late grandfather. What perhaps is unique about this that the spelling of my family name was the same. Mathews is rarely spelt with a single "T" more often than not most people spell it Matthews with two "T". I do not know who this man was only that in the great battle to give me and all of us a life of freedom he made the greatest of all sacrifices, that of laying down his life for his fellow man.
While this was only a short visit, now that I have chosen to live in France this is a place that I will return to so that I and perhaps others will always remember these men and those from all nations who gave their lives so we may live in freedom.
Derrick J Mathews