How The French Honor The D-Day Gravestones [Video]
The 76th Anniversary of D-Day was Saturday, and I learned about a tradition the French have for honoring the war dead that I never knew before.
In this video, it is shown how every D-Day (June 6) at the American cemetery in Normandy, French caretakers bring up sand from Omaha Beach where the American landed and rub it into the gravestones to highlight the names of the departed, in this case a Michigan man.
In doing some digging, I learned a little bit more about William A. Richards. He was from Marquette County in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and received the Distinguished Service Cross and Purple Heart. He received both honors posthumously.
According to the Mining Journal, Major Richards was the only military member from the Marquette area to die during the D-Day Invasion at Normandy.
He joined in the National Guard in 1939, and the next year married his wife, Mary Clemency “Clem” Archibald. The two had one child, a daughter, Susan.