Normandy’s Ghosts

In 2010, on a trip to Paris to visit friends, I decided to drive with my 8-year-old son to Normandy. I had been a student of World War II history ever since my fifth-grade book report on General Patton. I had always known the impact of the D-Day invasion, but as a filmmaker needed to set my eyes on Omaha and Gold beaches, which to my boy were merely a French shoreline.

How does one explain to an 8-year-old that wars are never good, but sometimes necessary? At times people must experience the horrible to fight for what is good? And yes, young men, like he would soon be, die. At one point, as my son wandered out to a small promenade off the Memorial Museum, where a pool stretched out to the Channel, I captured the image below. It was not until we arrived at the cemetery, lined with endless white crosses bearing the names of men and small US towns like New Hope, PA, that we felt the Normandy coastline breeze—a reminder of the far-off places once traveled to, in ship and plane, by American teenagers. And for the first time, it was clear, the US sacrifice. A sacrifice two of my Uncles had made, but one that might be lost on my 8-year-old son. Fueled by passion, or perhaps by a sense of honor, I felt the desire to make a film of these extraordinary events. To depict how common men needed to became warriors, led by other courageous men. One of these leaders above all, for me, was General George S. Patton, possessed of a warrior’s soul, one who understood the sacrifice that would preserve freedom in the face of tyranny. His was a prophetic voice during crucial moments of American history, offering a warning that had been otherwise silenced. It is to Patton’s memory and the Ghosts that I introduce my film Silence Patton.

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May 16,1976

May 16,1976

Patton's initial combact esperience Became the first motorized attack in the history of u.s. warfare

Wars may be fought with weapons,

Wars may be fought with weapons,

"but they are won by men."
General Patton
The dead of one man is a tragedy

The dead of one man is a tragedy

The dead of millions is a statistic.
Josef Stalin

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