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Last Meals

A D-Day Memorial

D-day meal

Canadian infantrymen of The Highland Light Infantry of Canada cook a meal aboard a landing craft on its way to France on D-Day, June 6, 1944. (Picture found here.)

There's something so basic about food. Memory can be triggered by a certain smell; we will forever associate certain events with certain foods.

As a child, I read about the war in the Pacific, and for some reason, the accounts of the final meal served aboard ship before an amphibious invasion - breakfast at 0200 - stayed with me. There was something about the juxtoposition of the normalcy of eating a meal with the knowledge that it would be the last meal for a number of those men. But unlike the condemned man whose meal comes before his walk to the gallows, none of those men knew whose turn it was to die.

As we approached the anniversary of D-Day this year, I wondered about the last meal of the men who waited, bobbing in the dark, for the order to storm the beaches of France. How did their "Condemned Man's Breakfast" compare to that of their brothers in the Pacific?

For one thing, they weren't getting hot meals; most of the men were in small landing craft as they awaited the signal to make for the shore. There were no galleys on those ships; no last hot breakfast of steak and eggs. Their last meal would have been C-rations.

In honor of those who spearheaded Operation Neptune at Sword Beach, Juno Beach, Gold Beach, Omaha Beach, and Utah Beach, The Diner will be serving the following:

Canned ham, chicken, and turkey
Meat and beans, meat and potato hash, meat and vegetable stew
Fruit bar, Carmels, Chocolate bar
Biscuits/Graham Crackers
Sugar cubes
Instant coffee, bouillon and lemonade

While you are here, listen as President Roosevelt leads the nation in prayer for the troops. Or read the stories of two soldiers who landed on the beach that day.

This is dedicated to you, Uncle Homer - I'm sorry I never asked you what you saw as you came to shore on the evening of D-day. I don't even know your unit information, or on which beach you came ashore. I'll always regret that; guess there are things you don't know are important until it's too late.

Posted by Lyana on Jun 06, 2009 9:17 am

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