In 1964, Dwight Eisenhower returned to Normandy. It had been twenty years since D-Day and was the only time he returned to the beaches where so many died and began the final chapter in the Second World War.
Words could never capture what went on there and what Eisenhower must have been feeling. In this song/poem, I envision him giving voice to that which we can never understand.
Eisenhower on the Beach
Eisenhower on the beach nineteen-sixty-four
He’d come back to give a speech on twenty years before
He looked upon the dignitaries waiting on his words
He’d written, “This was necessary.Freedom was preserved”
Then the ocean, the wind took him away
Something woke within and all he could say
Returning to his senses, “Had he sung out loud?”
Silence had descended Upon the gathered crowd
What this was, he’d never known, he picked up his notes
Leaned into the microphone, cleared his throat
But once again words, simply would not come
But this time he heard the crowd join as one
What more was of them could they offer
To waves of men in water?
Eisenhower never spoke of Normandy again
He had a wife, a family, a garden to tend
The battlefield of Gettysburg was just beyond his home
On hallowed ground, he was found, he lay down with his own
They placed him in a tomb in Arlington
His soldiers saluted without their guns