When a fence is more

Opinion: Columns

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Rich Kordesh

Fences serve varied purposes.

Sometimes history sharpens the meaning of intertwined wires and fasteners arrayed along a cliff.

The razor wire in front of a bunker at Pointe Du Hoc, Normandy, France, still speaks of war, but now it also secures a safe path bordered by wildflowers for those who walk it to honor soldiers' sacrifices.

The risks borne by members of the U.S. 2nd Ranger Battalion, who almost 70 years ago attacked these cliffs, helped to ultimately secure freedoms that today we can too easily assume, like the ocean, were always there.

I peer through the green fences protecting vegetables in my garden. On a normal day, I see red flowers, radishes ready for harvest, weeds that must be pulled, signs of whether to water, and other normal markers of tending a garden.

However, on June 6, the anniversary of D-Day and my son, Greg's, birthday, other streams of meaning lap together, and I see more swirling around my feet than just carrots and spinach.

In my memory, I see a young Greg — who walked through this garden as a toddler, and then as a young man stepped between Normandy's bomb craters — now standing free to pursue foreign study at a university, thanks in part to those soldiers' actions.

Brave men lie at rest in Normandy.

Their presence calls up a higher meaning for the lovely landscapes crafted in their honor. Barriers once built to harm them are transformed by the earth's gifts that flourish around them … and around us.

Guest blogger Richard S. Kordesh is the author of "Restoring Power to Parents and Places" and has worked professionally in the community development field for 35 years. Visit his website, www.richardkordesh.com, for more.

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