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june5-service POINTE DU HOC, NORMANDY, FRANCE - JUNE 5, 1994

The Rangers rally for a commemorative religious service under a large canvas tent at the Pointe du Hoc.
june5-service-rangers A plaque is dedicated to Col. James E. Rudder, the commanding officer of the 225 Rangers who scaled the one hundred foot cliffs of the Pointe du Hoc on D-Day to destroy cannons that threatened to jeopardize the American landings at Omaha and Utah Beaches.
june5-pdh-ledevin Outside, under cobalt skies, the crowd follows flag bearers through a ravaged, cratered terrain, past broken bunkers, to the tip of the point. There, a huge stone dagger rises above a bunker, overlooking the sea.
june5-pdh-group-close The Mayors of Grandcamp and Cricqueville, join veteran Rangers Len Lomell and Jack Kuhn and the two daughters of Col. Rudder, in a wreath-laying ceremony to honor departed Rangers.
june5-group-right-end From the Pointe du Hoc, the Rangers head for Cricqueville for a vin d'honneur. From the same mint that once struck coins celebrating the achievements of the Roi Soleil, Louis XIV, the veterans receive medals commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Allied landings and the Battle of Normandy. Each will return home, too, with a stone gathered from the slip of beach below the cliff at the Pointe du Hoc.
june5-stockmaster-pointing Why is this Ranger pointing? After the reception, the Rangers gather outside for a group photograph. Before the thick line of veteran and active Rangers, the families and guests aim their cameras. Next to me is a photographer from the Figaro Magazine. Angrily, she shouts, "Vous n'avez pas le droit de prendre cette photo. J'en ai l'exclusivite". (You're not allowed to take this picture. I have the exclusive rights). To which I respond, "Je prendrai cette photo si je veux and vous n'allez pas m'en empecher. (I'll take a picture if I want to and you're not going to stop me). The Figaro Magazine pushes me over. I manage to fire off several photos even while falling over, including one with Ranger Andy Stockmaster alerting fellow Rangers to my predicament. After the photo-op, Ranger Stockmaster with Ranger Peter Cardinali, rushes up to me and declares "I don't know who you work for but they sure got their money's worth!"
june5-group-center Epilogue - No photos of this event appeared in the Figaro Magazine. After knocking me over, the Figaro's photographer, Sylvie, ran out of film and was not able to reload before the group broke up.
WWII Rangers flanked by C company 2d Bn, 75th Ranger Regiment under the command of Cpt Timothy Parks

©Copyright 1994-2001 Vivian E. Corbin. All text and photographs contained herein are the work and intellectual property of the author and may not be used without the author's express written permission.