Saturday, June 8, 2013

Normandy Excursion

I was fortunate enough to take some steps into history yesterday and witness some of the most beautiful, historic, and devastating monuments in recent history. I visited Normandy, where we went to a WWII/Dday museum, the American cemetery on Omaha Beach, and Pointe du Hoc.

The experience was certainly overwhelming and a lot to take in at once, and the contrast of the beauty of the beaches and the devastation that occurred there left me in a place of juxtaposition. It was hard to point out exactly what emotion I was feeling, especially as I was walking through the cemetery, which was filled with perfectly aligned rows of marble crosses with the names of American soldiers who died during WWII. With multiple American flags silently waving in the wind and overlooking the massive Omaha Beach, I have quite possibly never felt so proud to be an American. Being so far away from home and feeling completely out of my comfort zone in these past few weeks, it was as if the cemetery, devastating as it was, made me feel at home. On top of everything I was trying to take in, as I was walking along the sidewalk which had a perfect view of the beach, the music to the Star Spangled Banner echoed from the main monument throughout the cemetery. Despite the problems and the differences we face at home, Americans gathered around to unite in singing the song of our country and to celebrate and honor the lives of these American soldiers. It was quite a beautiful moment!

Pointe du Hoc was really fascinating to see, which holds an immense amount of history for both the Americans and Germans. During the Normandy invasions, this was the point of attack by the United States Rangers during Operation Overlord. The Germans had built six casemates to house machine guns, which are to this day still in tact. The site is filled with large bomb craters, and on this day, there were men dressed as US army members as a reenactment, which made it feel more real!

Inscription on the side of the memorial building that reads "1941-1945 In proud remembrance of the achievements of her sons and in humble tribute to their sacrifices this memorial has been erected by The United States of America".

The Spirit of the American Youth Rising from the Waves 

An American flag waving high over the grounds. 

Young French children singing to D-Day veterans. It was so sweet and the veterans loved it!

The seemingly endless amount of crosses. 

Part of Pointe du Hoc

Point du Hoc. 

One of the German built gun casemates. 

A bomb crater.

The Pointe du Hoc memorial. 

Walking along Omaha Beach. 


1 comment:

  1. So glad you got to experience this and learn about it. This feeling of pride and amazement at what they sacrificed and accomplished will grow inside of you as you get older.