15th August 1944
The little town is empty, not a soul to be seen.
Le Maquis, the French Resistance movement, pass the word to the villagers and the remaining families withdraw into the foothills of the Maures.
In the morning the children awaken to the sound of bombs.
1,300 Allied bombers rain destruction for one and a half hours.
Then the shellfire begins.
From the heights they see great grey ships spit fire and steel.
They see the shoreline explode.
Then men drop from the sky like confetti at a wedding, in uncountable numbers.
From almost 500 ships the men pour onto the beaches.
94,000 of them.
Think about that number.
Ninety four thousand men.
Many of these, mainly from the 3rd Infantry Division of the US Seventh Army, land on the beach at Cavalaire sur Mer.
French commandos and the Maquis play a critical support role all along the coast.
Operation Dragoon is a resounding success.
The liberation of southern France is underway.
Allied casualties are 357 wounded and 200 dead.
200 mothers have lost their sons.
This is the price of victory.
a soldier triumphant
a land liberated
a mother inconsolable
This piece is inspired by and based on the work of my friend Emmy L Gant.