By Wayne G. Reilly
Recently I had the good fortune to travel through some beautiful parts of France. A surprise part of our tour was a visit to the small town of Oradour sur Glane. In this lovely French countryside I was introduced to evil. A few days after D-Day in 1944, a unit of the German Army’s Waffen SS massacred 642 residents of this tiny town without any given reason.
The men of Oradour were machine gunned, and the women and children were herded into their church and the building was then set on fire. There were only five survivors. After the war, Charles De Gaulle ordered that the totally burned and destroyed town not be rebuilt but left as a memorial to what had happened there. At the entrance to the town is a small sign that reads “Souviens – toi (Remember)”.
Reilly, of Roanoke, is a professor emeritus of political science at Hollins University.