Saturday, May 18, 2024

A Moment In Time

April 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Prose

All day the sounds of gunfire, exploding shells, screaming planes, chattering machine guns, exploding bombs – all causing death and destruction. Long lines of soldiers leaving the flimsy safety of the sand dunes, the lucky ones boarding boats, and being rowed out to larger craft and survival.

This was the scene on the beach at Dunkirk, with the British Army, and their French allies desperately trying to escape, and avoid capture.

After dark the noisy sounds of warfare gradually decreased, with just the movement of solitary soldiers standing on watch for incoming boats.

I was one of those soldiers, and remember the strange feeling of a complete lull from all the noise, as though the whole World had been stilled. Then as I looked around me observing the ships on fire, the smoking Town behind me, the only sound that of the waves hissing and sighing at my feet, with bits of equipment, and dead bodies of Soldiers, and Seamen being gently washed ashore.

In that brief spell just before dawn when all is silent, and awaiting that first burst of life. Amongst all that carnage of death and destruction, I suddenly realized I was looking at an incredible scene of indescribable beauty. The effervescent sand sparkled with colour like a field of diamonds, with the movement of the ebb and flow of the tide all along the shore line. The bodies of the dead lying on the water’s edge all edged with effervescence, as though encased in a sparkling Halo of reverence.

The quietness, the effervescence, the smoke and flames, all combined to give a feeling, that just for that brief time some unseen hand had created a picture of intense beauty, and I was left with the feeling that I was being privileged to experience something very special, even in that time of great stress.

Then suddenly a shout, as more boats appeared, the vision vanished, and the mayhem started again.

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