MJ Ramirez: France as a text 2022

Paris As Text

A Dream Come True,” by MJ Ramirez of FIU in Paris, France 2nd of July 2022. 

Anxious I was for days before arriving in my dream city, the City I always dreamed of waking up to every sunrise; now I would have the best chance of getting to say, “I am In Paris!” Now more than ever, I will have the opportunity to stand next to the symbol of France and the monument that attracted and made Paris a dream city for many.

The clouds were perfect, the day was bright, and the weather was just spectacular to finally experience the Golden Eiffel Tower view as the sun shone brightly upon it. The Eiffel Tower view that I once dreamed of and that would change a dream into my reality.

Our first lesson on the Eiffel Tower was learning the history of the monument built in 1889 and about the company owner named Chief Gustav Eiffel, that organized the structure lane to walk to the top of the Eiffel Tower and inspired the Eiffel Tower name. It is marvelous how in 2 years, 2 months, and five days of construction, it took for the Eiffel Tower; the symbol of France, to come alive and transition from a temporary exhibit to celebrate the 100th year of the French Revolution to the most recognizable structures visited by many around the world. In addition, the Eiffel Tower is repainted every seven years to keep the monument alive and preserve the dreams of those who wish to witness the panoramic view of the beautiful architecture that radiates through Paris.

Photographs on the Eiffel Tower Lecture taken by Isa Brimes & Edited by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0

A Journey to the Past

Walking in the streets of Paris, I can finally realize why many of its bustling museums and galleries, its top cuisine, and its beautiful architecture can overshadow the history and rich past of how Paris got its name. Many across the world have romanticized and made a superficial city through photography and in the social media world. However, Paris has a more profound history with its first foundation; Lutetia was the Gallo-Roman town established by a community of Celts and later named Parisii by the Romans. The Parisii established themselves on Île de la Cité, which is in Modern City Paris or, in other words, the City of Lights, the fashion capital, and the City of Love. But for Paris to transform into such innovated City, the Roman war defeated Gallic Tribes like the Parisii. The Parisii, which need more recognition since they were buried under the Eiffel Tower after the defeat by the Romans, is the cause that initiated the beginnings of urban design, agriculture, and structure which gave birth to the French Capital. 

Photograph of the Eiffel Tower- Taken and Edited by MJ Ramirez // CC By 4.0

From Hate to Love

It is hard to believe that the most praised and fascinating monument, The Eiffel tower, never fails to impress as a symbol of Paris and France and as a representation of the daring and powerful character of the City of Paris, which many Parisians once hated. “Truly tragic street lamp,” as a man once described the Eiffel Tower since he hated the idea of having an iron establishment and the tallest building at the time as a view in Paris. In addition, the Eiffel Tower created controversy because it’s taller than a church, and a church was supposed to be the tallest building because it means it’s close to God. From my experience in the Catholic Church and from my family generations following this religion, I can see why such ideals were radical and almost as defying around the time it was built. Still, as a student advocating for education and knowledge of the world, I am amazed at the courage of this initiative to take place in such a monument, changing people’s perspectives and encouraging progressive mindsets. However, during that time period it was seen as defying the King and France since the Eiffel Tower was a monument to science and to the revolution in a country where the king was catholic. In addition, the names around the Eiffel Tower are scientists who were enemies of the state and the church because they contradicted the ideals and principles of the church and the word of God. But, this radical movement in history and humanity, which was to build a temporary iron monument, introduced and gave recognition to genius scientists in history and acknowledgment by the generations that will appreciate and praise as they visit the dream City of Love, Paris.

Versailles As Text

Visiting the Sun King’s Palace,” by MJ Ramirez of FIU in Paris, France 3rd of July of 2022.

The Palace of Versailles, where the sun shines bright, and the uphill path challenges its visitors to work towards the royal history of France. Versailles, with its glamorous architecture and divine art, holds every room and hall with different designs and unique backgrounds, bringing you to a time of power and monarchy in which Louis XIV initiated the principles of beauty. He aimed for control of the noble society, and his monarchy aimed for perfection to portray his greatness within the Chateau of Versailles.

A simple hunting lodge where Louis XIV would go for horseback riding and hunting trips as a teen would turn into a unique and superior establishment where Louis intended to bring art and power as an embodiment of France was the result of the Palace of Versailles. Alongside his standards of Art was Gian Lorenzo Bernini, which created a remarkable representation and image of Louis XIV in the form of a marble portrait. This style of art began a clash of Italian and French culture and introduced an altered version of Italian Baroque in Versailles. However, Bernini’s judgment and bragging about the Italian Art style made Louis XIV send him back to Italy, and his efforts to establish the French Art style as a priority began. For example, he turned to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture to focus on the skilled artists that would become an essential factor in French artistic traditions as it founded the inspiration of royal images in the monarchy.

It astonishes me how the aspiration of a passionate form of art, seen in Baroque-style beauty, was chosen to symbolize a country and it was thanks to the power of a determined King. Louis XIV wanted nothing more than to solidify his views and commitment to a robust and magnificent idea of Art around Versailles. But unfortunately, many workers and the third state suffered and sacrificed their health and lives as a consequence of expenses from such extravagant royal residence. Louis XIV was seen as the best King of France with a demanding character to impress his absolute authoritative and superficial hierarchy. Because of this, it was a respected monarchy during his 72 years of ruling. And because of Louis XIV, many generations can experience a royal day at the Palace of Versailles.

Although the Palace of Versailles set a high standard for what exquisite and distinctive art meant in French society, it initiated discontent with the Royal monarchy. But it was not until Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s reckless and almost innocent view of the world that led to France’s downfall. The priority of other activities by Louis XVI, the careless expenses of Marie Antoinette, and poor economic decisions about the future of France led to the most critical but morbid start of the French Revolution. The description of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette’s death feels unjust because their ideals of how a monarchy society ruled were wrong. Still, they were unaware of such behaviors affecting the stance of the citizens of France. Still, ministers took advantage of his lack of knowledge in diplomacy and did not respect his authority. However, their choices disregarding issues concerning their monarchy led to the people revolting in 1789 at the outbreak of the French Revolution.

Overall, the decision of the French Kings that resided in Versailles takes you to the most powerful, passionate, and emotional part of French history, which you can feel from entering the gold-plated gates of the Palace. In addition, the beautiful nature, architecture, and art put one in touch with the period where all the magnificent ideals and principles of an absolute monarchy existed. It is indeed a beautiful part of history, with sacrifice and dedication created by a society that loved and lived by the word of the representative of God on earth, which was the King!

Photographs Taken and Edited by MJ Ramirez on The Palace of Versailles // CC By 4.0

Lyon As Text

A Progressive City! by MJ Ramirez of FIU in Lyon, France 8th of July 2022 

Growing up in America, most of the time, when one hears of France, people picture one city, Paris. However, the opportunity of being in Study Abroad in France has allowed me to explore the unique and beautiful city of Lyon, which almost takes me to two places at once with architecture similar to Italy. Still, the culture and essence of France remain.

The city of Lyon collides with historical architecture, culture from the Roman Conquest, fabrication of original landscapes, and a safe and green environment as all of downtown is a UNESCO world site. Moreover, the famous Lyonnaise cuisine made it the culinary capital of France. In addition, It holds the key to significant events of World War II as the location of the Montluc Prison is in Lyon.

Photograph Taken and Edited by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0

A Prison for the innocent

Montluc Prison was first created for military prisoners and anti-nationalist. However, it changed the intention and purpose when the invasion of 1942 by the Nazis in France. Therefore, Montluc became the most catastrophic way to implement their practices towards their Jewish genocide and injustices towards those against their ideals. As a result, many innocent lives were taken away in this prison or held before transporting to their last days in concentration camps. Furthermore, many prisoners in Montluc faced discrimination and injustices affecting generations that survived the horrific life of the invasion of the Southern Zone. After many massacres and efforts of the resistance intervention, prisoners in Montluc were released in August, a week before the liberation of Lyon. But many events remain ingrained in individuals, communities, and direct families of the survivors.

Photographs taken and edited by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0

The Power of Sharing the Truth

As we meet Claude Bloch and listen to him telling his story, I genuinely feel every word, every description of the events of World War II and innocent individuals that had to go through the most sinister of human crimes in history. He describes his story from the beginning of when it all started with the Nazi invasion until what he would face as abuse and injustices in Auchwitzs just because of his religion and the dehumanizing events that introduced World War ll. Claude was just a little boy of ten years of age when he was taken away from his mom and had to have the mindset of an adult to be strong and fight until the end for one’s life against all odds. But until today, he remembers every detail that he endured in the concentration camp that he survived and is the voice for the whole world to see and fight for human rights and injustices. Claude now talks and shares his truth and memory to carry on the reality of events that occurred in the Holocaust to make justice for all the innocent lives taken away and never to repeat horrendous events in history ever again.

Claude Bloch Showing us his Tattoo Proud they did not Win!
Photography Taken and Edited by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0

Maison D’Izieu As Text

Two Views”… by MJ Ramirez of FIU in Izieu, France 10 of July 2022

Walking up a beautiful mountain, I was mesmerized by the view that one could never envision until glimpsed with one’s eyes. I stand directly, and my eyes are captivated by the beauty of nature as they turn slowly towards a building. As I walk up the stairs by the door, I learn that it was once a safe place for Jewish Children. Children, yes, just beautiful and innocent children from the age of 3 to 16. The children’s pictures hung on the white walls as I walked on the wooden floors of Izieu, but as it is clarified the meaning behind this home, I learned the names of each child with the dates of their birthdates to when taken away to concentration camps. I encounter my emotions all gathered in the tears that I cannot hold, for I feel pain. Still, I stop because it feels almost selfish to feel this anger and sadness that cannot change the injustice and abuse the children that once lived in this home felt.

Photographs taken and edited by MJ Ramirez on July 10th, 2022// CC By 4.0

Listening to the letters and processing each word behind what the children in Izieu experienced and feared challenges my faith, beliefs, and why the world has another view that is cruel and full of injustices and discrimination against each other. I sit across the desks from the children in the ”Salle De Classe,” hoping and picturing them having the best education and learning experience they were given in Izieu. I am reminded of the age of innocence around the ages of these children in the pictures. Moreover, how much love and purity there was in a classroom with the power and intention to learn. But, on the other hand, the memorial of the Children of Izieu causes one to feel the absolute injustice of the oppressive system humans can create and truly understand that no explanation can ever justify what happened in this home. It honestly tears apart what I believed this world was and the reality of what humans can do. And unfortunately, inequity, discrimination, and prejudice keep recurring with different names and targeting diverse populations, but it is still very much seen with recurring religious conflicts because of extremists.

Photographs taken and edited by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0

The outrageous Gestapo Arrests and Deportations resulted in the creation of Izieu for Jewish Children in 1942 during the German Occupation of France. Gestapo arrests and deportation were occurring and rising, forcing families to separate and send their children to refugees or homes or safe places as Izieu intended. In Izieu, Jewish children had classes to keep their education forward; they had their bedrooms or played with kids of their age but grew apart and away from the love of their families. It was a decision that I cannot bear to understand because during the persecution of Jewish Children, they faced many atrocities that no child should ever experience. Moreover, many organizations worked together and helped found Izieu from the European crisis affecting Jewish populations due to Hitler’s ethnic cleansing.

It is all a mix of emotions that affect a person who understands the reality of the Holocaust and the Jewish Genocide. The world needs to comprehend how important it is to educate and prevent injustices affecting any population. In addition, learn from terrible events, never to bring back the horrible injustices and events that occurred in the 1940s, especially the first case of crimes against humanity as it is in the heartbreaking presence of the “Maison d’Izieu.”

Photograph taken by MJ Ramirez// CC By 4.0

Pere Lachaise as Text

“A Legend is Born,” by MJ Ramirez of FIU in Père Lachaise, France 29th of July 2022

This project is to educate ourselves with research and dive deep into meaningful and influential individuals in history to understand essential concepts that changed our modern society and how it defines all of us from the appreciation of the past. The most crucial factor that was important through research and understanding of a legend of opera, which I will present: Maria Callas, was reaching the root of how it all begins. Therefore, I will introduce her early life, upbringing, life details, and career until the last days to commemorate the outermost respect and admiration for her life. With this, I will connect with aspects affecting my life and experiences with Maria Callas. In addition, I will then reflect on the information from her life to compare vital perspectives in our current society. 

When listening to opera, I sense a majestic and passionate form of music; it is the art of bringing a story, a powerful piece, alive in the form of acting and singing with a dramatic vocal range for others to appreciate the beauty of such genre. Opera is a strenuous and challenging genre to be recognized for it takes years to master, and not just anyone can reach professional standards. Still, one legend, an influential soprano singer named Maria Callas, created a revival in the 20th century for “Bel canto,” a singing style that inspired many singers to discover and follow her beautiful and unique voice. Although at first judged by her dramatic and complex singing style, she is recognized now by many generations in the world as the best soprano singer of all time, better known as “La Divina.”


About The Queen of Opera

Maria Callas’s original name was Maria Cecilia Sophia Anna Kalogeropoulos; she was born on December 02, 1923, in New York City, New York. Her parents were Greek immigrants named George and Evangelia shortened their last name to Callas once they moved to the United States in New York City. The Queen of Opera had a difficult childhood and one that she never forgot because of her dysfunctional family. Her parents suffered a terrible loss from their only son, who died from meningitis at a young age. Therefore, her parents wanted nothing more but a baby boy. However, Maria Callas would be the youngest and last child of the Greek immigrants, and Maria Callas would face the consequences of this situation. Maria Callas’ parents were disappointed she was a girl, and her mother would not look at her for days. In addition, she was overshadowed by her older sister Jackie because they portrayed her as more charismatic and “beautiful.” It was the beginning of a problematic relationship with her mother for the rest of her life.

Moreover, she was pushed by her mother to be a certain way, and it was because of her mother that she followed a vocal career. From a young age, her mother forced Maria Callas to perform in front of friends and the public. Evangelia knew Maria Callas demonstrated a promising singing career, so when her parents divorced in 1937, her mother, Jackie (her sister), and Maria moved back to Greece, where her mother would place Callas at the Athens Conservatory. When Callas auditioned at the conservatory, she was accepted as a pupil by soprano teacher Elvira de Hidalgo. With the help and guidance of Hidalgo, Maria could implement into her soprano voice color and flexibility to light up her performances, which made her a star. However, it was not until 1939 that Maria Callas made her first singing debut as a student in a school production, “Cavalleria Rusticana.” 

Cd Maria Callas - The Voice Of The Century (1997)

Maria Callas – The Legend- (2000,CD) -Discogs

La Divina- A God-Given Gift

With Maria’s potent voice and dramatic flair, she began her singing career when her singing coach, Elvira, encouraged her to move to Italy in 1947 to take on the performance of “La Gioconda” at the Verona Arena. Her talent was like no other, but it was not until her role in Bellini’s Norma, her most famous role, for the first time in Florence, Italy, in 1948. After that, her career began as critics recognized her, and she was on her path to becoming “La Divina.” 

La Divina’s fantastic performing ability and unique dramatic musical gifts transformed her into a famous opera singer. However, she was still seen as shy, and overweight, insecure by the public, and the man first to court her was an older man named: Giovanni Batista Meneghini, a wealthy industrialist; and they started a relationship that eventually became a marriage in 1949. Although Maria at the time was 23 years old and Giovanni was 51 years old, the relationship was mutual, and both understood each other even when they were very different. But Maria Callas’s fame and fortune were the main reason their relationship functioned due to how Giovanni would control her every move in her career and start managing the talented diva. 

 Maria Callas-Birth Of A Diva — Legendary Early Recordings (2007, CD)- Discogs

A Tragic Love Story

During Maria Calla’s marriage and dedication to her career, touring around the world and gaining fame across America at the New York Metropolitan Opera, she transformed her appearance into a glamorous one and underwent a drastic weight loss. While living in Paris, she began her most courted era as an opera singer. She attained popularity from the controversial and the downfall of her career with a new love interest: Aristotle Onassis, a wealthy shipping magnate. 

Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis fell instantly for each other when meeting at a social gathering, while both were married to different people. They initiated a love affair that dissolved her marriage with her husband in 1959, and Maria began making the headlines by the press, making her personal life overshadow her talent and work by her decisions. 

Maria was utterly in love with Onassis and hoped to be with him as at the beginning of their love affairs, with expensive gifts and endless cruising days. However, Onassis took Maria’s love and dependency on him to his advantage as he started to mistreat her and was a compulsive cheater. He started having affairs with Jackie Kennedy, the widow of John F. Kennedy, and abandoned Maria Callas to go and marry Jackie. The news took a toll on La Divina’s life and affected her career.

Maria Callas, Onassis and Jackie Kennedy- A Love Triangle; The Classic FM

The Last Song.

The downfall of her career was a mix of her disappointment in all her dysfunctional relationships, from her mother’s resentment and mental abuse as a child to her marriage falling apart and her decision to love an abusive partner that left her alone. In addition, personal issues affected her career, and it deteriorated her health since Maria kept her weight loss which was overboard and contributed to her vocal decline, which was the breaking point for Maria Callas. 

La Divina kept performing at the Met (Metropolitan) in New York, but her voice declined tremendously, affecting her voice. Ultimately, Maria Callas’s overworking voice catches up to her in her performance “Norma,” in Paris 1964; in the middle of the final scene, her voice cracked attempting a high note. Because of this incident, it was then witnessed by the public that Maria’s voice range would never be the same. In Japan, she did an outstanding performance; however, everyone that had heard her before critiqued and claimed it was not the same “God-given” voice able to reach the highest of notes. The opinions and perspectives will impact Maria Callas since it was her last public performance in Japan in November 1974 with Giuseppe di Stefano. It would be the last song, the last performance the Divina would last take the stage before she passed away in September 1977 in her home in Paris at age 53, (where she died from a heart attack). 

Maria Callas- A Remarkable Performance at Lyric Opera  brought the legendary diva back to life in 2019

Will always Be Remembered 

Maria Callas will always be remembered in people’s hearts, and her fame will always impact the opera and performing arts worldwide. She influenced and motivated many artists to reach for the best of their abilities, and she was a dedicated and passionate professional for what she loved. Regardless of her personal life, Maria Callas shined through the end and pushed through all the struggles she faced from an early stage in her life to adulthood. Her voice will touch people’s hearts and carry in the form of music from all her debuts, and memorable performances archived worldwide. Because such powerful emotions and feelings arose as I dived deep into her life, I was able to comprehend and understand how important it is to educate and promote the mental well-being of others and oneself because it can affect an individual forever. 

I learned about Divina’s hard work and commitment to her music and how crucial it is to move forward and push through any difficulties. Although personal relationships can affect one, in the long run, it is in our control to take the good part and acknowledge one’s health comes before anything else. No matter the facts, she was strong until the very end; she needed support and someone to be there for her. Therefore, it is in her remembrance that all inspired by her passion for singing and in awe of her gifted voice are present for those in need of a mental health voice. 

The crucial part of meeting Maria Callas through reading, listening to her voice, and research was always to follow my heart and understand my emotions about what I truly want in my life. For example, in my life, I have faced the comparison to my sister as she is more sport-oriented than me and more like my father. As a result, I always felt like the outsider in my family, the one that likes to take risks and travel the world on my own to figure out who MJ is. Because of this, it is noticeable that I cannot gain much from my dad’s approval since I’m not like my sister or have the same passions. However, I try my efforts through school and be positive along my journey as a person. To prevent any outside influences of negativity or perspectives of others of me not bringing me down because what matters is who I am, true to myself and how I take on the world with kindness and respect towards others. Because of this, La Divina, with her majestic voice, has inspired me to become the best version of myself, keeping in mind my mental health and well-being to pass through any hardships in life. Whether in college, my career, or my relationships, I will either hold or let go of those affecting my future to be in a safe place and reach for what I am passionate about in life which is an advocate for human rights and promoting the wellbeing of individuals facing social injustices. 

1.) Callas retired from the opera stage in 1965, and she spent her subsequent years living largely in isolation in Paris in her elegant apartment at 36, ave. Georges Mandel.

2.) Italian baritone Tito Gobbi (center), Princess Grace of Monaco (left) and her daughter Caroline (right) as they leave the Greek Orthodox Church in Paris after funeral services for Maria Callas on September 20, 1977.

3.) The gravestone of Maria Callas at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.


1.) “Encyclopedia of World Biography,”https://www.notablebiographies.com/Br-Ca/Callas-Maria.html#ixzz7ZhvtxACJ

2.) “Maria Callas, 53, is Dead of Heart Attack in Paris,” By Raymond Ericson on Sept. 17, 1977. https://www.nytimes.com/1977/09/17/archives/maria-callas-53-is-dead-of-heart-attack-in-paris-ivlarea-callas-is.html.

3.) Maria Callas Biography By The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica://www.britannica.com/biography/Maria-Callas

4.) Maria Callas Biography on April 27, 2017. A&E Television Networks. https://www.biography.com/musician/maria-callas

5.) The World’s Greatest Music.Classic FM-Digital Radio on “Maria Callas: 15 facts about the great soprano.”https://www.classicfm.com/artists/maria-callas/guides/facts-gallery/

6.) “Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O and Lee Radziwill: A Complicated Relationship,” By Philip Chrysopoulos on February, 10, 2022. Greek Reporter https://greekreporter.com/2022/02/10/lee-radziwill-onassis/

Normandy as Text

“She,” By MJ Ramirez of FIU in Normandy, France 26th of July 2022

She, Mary Jewel Barlow.
She who was a little girl born in the “Constitution State.” 
She who despite segregation, was selfless when it came to the call of duty 
She who was accustomed to ongoing war and the idealization of “offering one’s life for one’s country.”
She who fought against all odds to be part of the first African American women wearing a uniform with pride.
She with hard work and dedication ranked Private First Class in the Women’s Army Corps.
She with respect and admiration was a member of the “Six-triple eight,” 6888 Postal Directory Battalion.
She who gave the men on the battlefield a reason to keep fighting by delivering letters from families and loved ones
She who we thank for her sacrifice alongside her Batallion of the only all-black Women’s Army Corps unit in WW2 
She who was courageous and honorable to successfully continue her postal duties until the very end.
She named Mary Jewel Barlow, whom we honor and respect as a country, and in the hearts of many, Mary Jewel Barlow lives on. 


It is hard to ask myself these questions every day, but it would take a lifetime to understand.

Why do many atrocities occur at the cost of many innocent lives?

Why did many people have to suffer? 

Why did many minorities have to endure segregation, discrimination, and racism? And Why was it okay and normality in others’ eyes? 

Why do nations create war and violence towards religious groups of people because of skin color, race, or culture? 

Why did children, young adults, parents, and families experience the loss of their loved ones at the cost of atrocities of the world? 

 It destroys a person who truly cares. I, as an individual, see all people equally; I see we are all humans and deserve the same treatment, respect, equal rights, and the pursuit of happiness. Still, I live in a world that opposes this idea, and many have faced the consequence. Because of this, it always feels unfair to live a life where I see more of the good side of the world while others never did. But, on the other hand, it seems we need to represent those who sacrificed and fought for this future and the pursuit of happiness they once dreamed of with fulfillment. Therefore, I must carry on the memory and honor the life of the sacrifices of a remarkable woman in the United States Army: Mary Jewel Barlow. 

Who is She?

Mary Jewel Barlow was born in the United States in Connecticut in 1923. Her parents were Boce William Barlow and Ethel Green Barlow, and she had two sisters named Mrs. Katherine B. Clark and Miss Ethel May Barlow. She was born in a timeline in America where her parents and family had confronted discrimination, socially authorized segregation, and racial violence. And although Mary J. Barlow successfully graduated from Weaver High School in 1940 after attending Arsenal and North East School while employed by Underwood-Elliot Fisher corporation, Mary Jewel Barlow would decide to change her life forever. Mary chose to enlist in the Army around 1942 and started her basic training at Fort Des Miones, Iowa, and then to Georgia for overseas training. As Barlow went through the demanding process in her training, she was then able to follow her services in England as Private First Class in the Postal Clerck services. 

 Mary J. Barlow, in the Postal clerk service in the Army, would move to Rouen, France, be part of the initial African American civil rights and end prejudice against women to serve in the Army. Mary would become a memorable member of the African American Women Battalion overseas during World II in the well-known “Six Triple Eight.” Her battalion was successful in its primary goal during the war, cutting the backlog from months to just a few weeks. Thanks to the endeavors and services of Mary Barlow alongside the “Six Triple Eight” battalion, soldiers had a new hope for a future with freedom and would honorably sacrifice their lives for a better world with the support of their loved ones through letters. Due to this reason, it clarifies the true meaning of sacrifice because soldiers left everything behind to be part of this fight for freedom and a unified country, for a new world of equal nations and human rights.

Mary Jewel Barlow, Private First Class, U.S Army

The Sacrifice for a Free World

Tragically, as Barlow and her Batallion postal duties continued in France, Mary and the other two unit members suffered a fatal accident on July 8th, 1945- Sergeant Dolores M. Browne and PFC Mary H.Bankston were involved in a deadly Jeep accident. Both Mary Bankston and Mary Barlow were killed instantly, while Dolores remained alive with grave injuries that led to her death five days later- July 13th, 1945. Private Mary Jewel Barlow was buried in the Normandy Cemetery, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France. She was about only 22 years old at the time of her death. 

6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion; in this image Charity,Edna Adams Earley, Millie (Dunn) Veasey, Alice Lillian Dixon, Willma Henrietta (Lucas) Jennings, Elizabeth (Barker) Johnson, Indiana (Hunt) Martin, Mary Jewel Barlow.

Twenty-two years old, when Mary Jewel passed away from a fatal accident while on duty. I must process this statement and truly understand the meaning behind it because Mary J. Barlow was around my age when she was in the Army during World War II, and it would be during her duty to her country that she faced death. However, it takes pain and tears to try to understand the courage this took and how much strength she had to be capable of enduring the consequences of war and growing up in a country where she faced discrimination, racism, and prejudice for being an African-American woman. Therefore, for me, Mary’s life meant more and as a reason to believe in wars with a meaning to end the ongoing tragedies and the atrocities of genocide arising as the holocaust in Europe and to advance universal human rights. Although treated as a second-class citizen because she was an African-American woman, Mary preserved in the deadliest and most destructive war in human history and honored her name by setting the example of a unified country fighting for liberty and making a difference in the world. Mary Jewel Barlow was a hero who shined through the end of times, devoted to her country. Mary Jewel Barlow’s memory lives on for the generations ahead. 


1.) “America Battle Monuments Commission,”https://www.abmc.gov/decedent-search/barlow=mary#
2.) “Memoire & Database,” Barlow Mary J- 6888 CPDB WAC. https://www.database-memoire.eu/prive/fr/normandy-tous-soldats/14-colleville-b-fr/6706-barlow-mary-j-6888-cpdb-wac
3.)Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/56642091/mary-jewel-barlow: accessed 28 July 2022), memorial page for PFC Mary Jewel Barlow (1923–8 Jul 1945), Find a Grave Memorial ID 56642091, citing Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, Colleville-sur-Mer, Departement du Calvados, Basse-Normandie, France; Maintained by Frogman (contributor 47380828).
4.) “Honor States.Org,” on Mary JewelBarlow.https://www.honorstates.org/index.php?id=23868.

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