F/L Frank Joel Clark -- J4924

F/L Frank Clark's son
visits his father's grave
for the first time
60 years after the death.

This card was prepared by well-known
Beaches artist Jennifer Cline
and given to Barry Joel Clark Simpson
as he was leaving for France
to visit the grave of his father
for the first time. He was making
this trip with his uncle, Dave Clark.

now at the front on the west side of an almost deserted ship
in mid channel I write this
if I were able to see around the curvature of the earth
and the ocean as it were
I guess I could see my beach from here
I've come a long way

Andrea Bocelli is soaring through my mind

there was a defining moment at Bretteville-sur-Laize cemetery

while we thought we arrived early enough
there were still many people setting up for the ceremony
mounties were rehearsing their standing on guard marching patterns
various staff were here and there checking this and that
out of the corner of my eye I saw Dave in a particular area that
generally indicated to me where the grave was
I wandered the entire perimeter with music in my head
pausing to read random inscriptions

as I was nearing the area
I read each marker
then moved slowly to the next
stone after stone, row after row
I read the names and their ages
all young boys aged 23, 24, 19, 21, 23, 20
then an "unknown soldier"
how sad is that?
for all concerned
probably also a young boy.......

then suddenly I'm in front of
Flt. Lt. Frank J. Clark
age 23

I was there at the grave of a young boy
a boy who had not aged and grown older
as I had
A feeling that I was the father and his memory was my son
swept through me
I gasped as all my breath was taken away for a moment
I knelt and took out a handful of sand
that I had scooped up at Juno beach
on June 6th after comments by the Queen, the Prime Minister
and the Governor General
and also a tattered poppy I had found there
I placed them amongst the well cared for flowers

after 61 years I had come across the ocean
to honour this 23 year old boy

Barry Joel Clark Simpson

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last updated 15 March 2006 in sunny Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.