I’d like to share another very moving story from the very same cruise. The father of Joe Miller fought on Omaha Beach and in Normandy and survived. After he passed away, his son and his wife came to see the site where his dad and thousands of men had arrived on D-Day. Joe took some sand from Omaha Beach and put it in a little vessel to take home and also took a photograph there with a picture of his father.
Together Joe and Dolly lay down a wreath at the Normandy American Cemetery during a ceremony for the passengers of our ship. He told me that his father had never said much about World War II, and Joe felt liking writing a memorial poem. Later back onboard, I invited Dolly and Joe to share their touching experiences with us, and Joe read his poem. Here it is:
D-day by Joe Miller
Early morning getting ready
Scared inside but trying to be steady
We get the word, time to go
Move it out, keep your head low
Gate lowers, see the beach
So many of us will not reach
Artillery fire raining down
Get knocked over, trying not to drown
Get back up, head for shore
Guns keep pounding more and more
Looking behind me so many dead
The sand around me turning red
Orders given time to advance
Nothing can keep us from liberating France
The battle is won, but with a very high cost
So much gained, so much lost
Dealt the enemy a significant blow
Now we march to St. Lo
Though we won the battle and our goals were reached
Will never forget those we lost on Omaha
dedicated to my father Richard Miller

One Response

  1. Thank you for sharing this. We were honored to be present when Joe and Dolly commemorated the heroism of their family members. One of our most treasured memories of our Viking cruise.

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When I was working in the GOP Variety Theatre in Essen, Germany in 1996, Director Andrej Belinskiy and I quickly became friends. Afterwards we kept in touch, and when my wife and I were married in Rome three years later, Andrej and his future husband Rainer Koch were our best men. Later Andrej became the cruise director on a ship, the Mona Lisa, and in 2009 asked me to perform onboard. Instead of paying me money, he invited me (along with my wife and two children) to join the cruise and its excursions without charge. We embarked in the German port of Kiel and had a great time visiting Norway—Nordcap, Bergen, Svalbard, and the awe-inspiring fjords. Impressed and inspired by Andrej’s outstanding job being the face and voice of the ship, I began to think about the future possibility of doing something similar myself. He helped me get in contact with Nicko Tours, a German tour operator, and in 2011 I started working for this company as a freelance cruise director on European rivers.’