Day Eleven--June 25, 2013--Very emotional day at the Normandy Cemetery, Matti did phenomenal, and now we are in Paris.

Thoughts, emotions and schedules right now are not going to allow us to provide too many details about today's eulogies at the cemetery. That said, everybody, especially Matti, did a magnificent job delivering their eulogies. Matti was very composed throughout most of her eulogy for Virgil Tangborn but before she delivered it, she was absolutely shaking. At the end of it, she cracked but held it together and finished it just right. Afterwards, she broke down again and it was difficult to watch but also amazing to experience. I cried so much today though Matti's as well as the other ones. These young people have done such a good job and are definitely the leaders of tomorrow. There is no way that these students are going to forget what they did, heard and saw today and they are going to spread that message to so many people.

Matti and I got to spend some nice quiet time as well by Virgil's headstone just reflecting on him, on the day and on the raw emotion experienced. We both so badly wish we could have met Virgil because he was such a wonderful person who had so much potential and was so giving right up to his final actions. I took video of the entire eulogy and have photographs of the letter she left at his grave. Just a side note, we were both very heartened to see his grave with a clear view (no other graves in front of it) as well as in the shade of a pine tree. As you might know, Virgil is from Nary, just south of Bemidji and there are tons of pine trees up there. He would probably have liked that. In an other note that I'm not even sure how to interpret just yet, as Matti was finishing up her letter to him, and saying thanks to him, one of the teachers said a pinecone from one of the pine trees nearby fell on top of her. There weren't any other pine cones on the ground in that area and the only other ones down had been chewed by squirrels, so it's not like they were falling down with any regularity. It came right as Matti said, "Thank you," so who knows. Maybe he was there with us. I know that if he was, he'd have been touched by such a beautiful dedication to his life.

So for now, we are in Paris. Steam needed to be blown off so Matti went with friends to the Latin District and salsa danced while I went walking around Notre Dame taking photos. The really good ones with the big camera will have to wait but here's something from the phone. Same thing with the eulogy. You are just going to have to wait but it will be well worth it. For now, back to Paris.

The American cemetery in Normandy Is a very moving experience.
Virgil's grave is beneath a pine tree which is almost too perfect given his northern Minnesota roots.
Eiffel Tower! Can you believe this is the end of our trip? It's bittersweet for sure.

06/27/2013 5:01pm

Ron and Matti,

I do not have words to describe the raw emotions I have when reading about the eulogies today. Matti's especially broke my heart but also was strangely uplifting.
Thank you to both of you for giving me so much hope for the future.


Leave a Reply.