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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Purposefulness (Purpose in Life) (05/25/06)

TITLE: Swathed in Scarlet
By Ruth Neilson


Do you remember the first time that you saw me? The days before the troops arrived here. I was literally glittering white, clothed in freshly bathed sand that would blind a person. I wish I could remember those days.

Unfortunately, I see myself only swathed in thick, hot, sticky, human blood. It stains me, sinking deep into my skin. The stench of death permeates every surface that I touch and see.

Limp bodies lie here, bathed in the salty tears of God; swimming their final lap in the shallows. Slowly turning into pruned remains that no one can recognize. Dog tags clank together, a horrible off pitch key. Death reigns on my soil.

I know these men. I watched them live and die within a few brief moments of arriving. One foot placed in the waves only to be shot down from above with hot lead. I witnessed them struggle ashore, determined to survive and equally as determined to bring their comrades with them. I still hear their cries for their mamas as they slowly died, inner bowels exposed to the clammy ocean air. I cradle them close, in a gritty embrace as the last shuddery breath departs from them.

Their souls are released, flying free like seagulls on the ocean breeze. I weep my own salt driven tears with each life that flees away from the earthly bounds. What purpose caused these men to come to this beach to die? I do not know.

They still come, determined to press onto this hallowed ground, unwavering in their commitment despite their fears. Young men, who are barely old enough to hold a weapon, are willing to sacrifice their lives for another. I do not know the outcome of this day’s fight.

Nevertheless, their blood will be remembered and I will continue to mourn and weep my tears for their bodies, long after they rest in my neighbor’s soil. My skin will be pristine again, bathed anew, and no one will remember the scarlet discoloration of today. They will only remember the symbolic innocence of the markers in the cliff looking over me.


The invasion of Omaha Beach June 6, 1944 was the bloodiest part of the invasion of Normandy Beach. Within a few hours of beginning of the invasion, over 3,000 causalities occurred. This piece is wrote to remember those men who died and survived on D-Day. Their sacrifices will not be forgotten.

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This article has been read 683 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dara Sorensen06/01/06
Great imagery! And an original take on the topic too.
Michelle Burkhardt06/03/06
I am grateful to all the soldiers past and present that represent this country. God bless them. I liked how the story came from the beach's point of view.
Sharlyn Guthrie06/04/06
Thanks for a sobering, yet needful message. We should never forget. Your reminder was eloquent.
Marilyn Schnepp 06/05/06
So tragic, and yet so beautifully remembered by this Author. The courageous deaths on that blood stained beach are etched in our memories forever. Thank you for reminding us of their purpose in life on that June 6th! AND, that they will never be forgotten! Thank you for this Awesome Tribute! Great Job of writing!
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/07/06
Very creative and touching story. Well done.
Shari Armstrong 06/08/06
Thank you for this moving tribute to the brave men (and women) who have served our country.