I walk here most days, to this strip of sand settled by the Ais, a tribe of Native Americans.
It’s easy to imagine them living here, small nomadic bands making camp.
So much has changed since then.
Remember when you could just pull off to the side of the road and stroll through dunes to the ocean? Today, most of the Atlantic Coast is overrun with parking lots, concessions, and billboards.
But here in the land of the Ais, there are still plenty of pristine beaches with easy and free public access.
Markers always interest me. (There isn’t one for the Ais. At least, I haven’t seen one yet.) I’m curious to know more about the honorees, the folks who came before us, the ones who deserve our gratitude.
The marker near the dune is for C. Scott Fletcher, an Australian-born education professional. Fletcher spent more than three decades protecting these beaches from development. He pioneered Save Our Beaches. The Ais would applaud him, I’m sure.
This part of the shoreline was named in honor of Scott and his wife Billie. It would look much different today if it weren’t for the efforts of these beloved visionary community activists.
C. Scott Fletcher died in 1991. His legacy never will.
I visited the Normandy American Military Cemetery, a memorial park in Colleville-sur-Mer overlooking the Omaha landing beach.
The graves of US soldiers who gave their lives to free Europe are marked by a poignant sea of white marble, seemingly going on into infinity. It’s hard to reconcile the silent tranquility of the setting with the smoke and slaughter, the grim toll of that day.
This pool is outside a small museum. It’s a quiet place to sit and reflect on the sobering stories of the soldiers and their families.
Stories of uncommon courage. Stories of staggering sacrifice. It’s impossible not to be humbled in the presence of these heroes.