I've been meaning to share these photos with you since I took them. I wanted to make sure I had the time to tell the story and to remember with pride, the honour I had in meeting and photographing not one but two American D-Day Veterans. I was contacted by a wonderful organisation called 'Wish of a lifetime', who organise events for American and Canadian senior citizens. They were planning on granting US Ranger George Klein's wish to return to Normandy. He had planned to come to France for the 70th Anniversary commemorations but unfortunately bad health had curtailed his plans.
I was asked if I could capture George's first return trip to the Pointe du Hoc, the landing site where he and his fellow US rangers scaled the near vertical cliffs as their part of D-Day and also to capture his participation in the official ceremony where he was one of the honoured and revered veterans to participate in the commemorations. With the help of Wish of a lifetime, Chase and the WWII Foundation George's trip was organised.
Today I'm bringing you the photos of the official ceremony where George was guest/veteran of honour with participation of the present day US Rangers. If you'd like to read a little about his involvement on D-Day you can read about it on the Wish of a lifetime page about George Klein's emotional return to Normandy
The following photo is one of the most emotional I think I've ever taken. Having been invited by one of the present day US Ranger's to be accompanied down into the bunker where there is a small memorial featuring the names of the US Rangers lost during the D-Day events at Pointe du Hoc, George steadily stepped down into the small room, which was probably only 8 feet squared with a very low ceiling. There were a few others who were also in the room as George entered, but in a instant it was as if George was on his own as everyone immediately silenced themselves and stepped as far back from him as they could, with respect. George briefly looked at the names, instinctively bowed his head and lifted his hand to touch the memorial to contact with his fallen comrades.
For me, this image was just a case of being in the right place at the right time, with the luck of the lighting, which shone on just the area that George placed his hand in remembrance. It was over in a few seconds. It's a photo that doesn't feature a face or an expression but I think we can all 'feel' that there was an immeasurable amount of emotion in one moment.
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