Thursday, August 11, 2011


Normandy, France and D-day makes me proud to be an American.
Janie in a field of graves at the American Cemetery in Normandy, France
Army Rangers scaled the cliffs to capture Pointe du Hoc. Bomb craters everywhere!
Pointe du Hoc, Normandy France: Bomb craters everywhere.
Janie and Paul on Utah Beach Normandy, France
Janie at the Utah Beach war museum
Para trooper St. Mere Eglise Normandy, France near the 101st Airborne museum
Jason and family at the Utah Beach museum
Me and the boys at the Utah Beach war museum
The Boys at Utah Beach
On Omaha Beach, Normandy France
The Boys on Utah Beach
Janie and me on the causeway leading to Mont Saint-Michel

It was a long drive across France to get to Normandy.  The journey took 12 hours and we saw some really nice scenery.  I drove Jason's car and he drove the rental.  When we arrived at the hotel I went to bed right off and got a good night sleep.  The hotel room was a bit strange.  The shower stall and sink were in the same room as the bed, only the "WC" was in a separate room.  I thought this to be a bit strange.  Otherwise the room was very nice.  We got up early the next morning and went to Utah beach.  I had a friend that had landed on this beach and survived the war.  He was a boiler fireman at St. John's Hospital in Lowell, Mass. and had told me stories of the war.  It was quite a feeling to be standing on that beach where so many had been killed.  We toured the museum there and then went to St. Mere Eglise where there is a replica of a para trooper hanging from the steeple of the church.  The 101st Airborne museum was there and we stayed just for a short time.  Next we went to Pointe du Hoc. This also was an amazing place.  The Army Rangers had to scale the cliffs to take this strategic point.  225 Rangers landed and only 90 survived the attack.  The spot was bombarded before the attack and the craters are everywhere.  We walked into the bunkers that were built by the Germans.  I would not have wanted to be on that point on D-day.  We made our way next, to Omaha beach.  This was, to my understanding, the worst place to be on D-day.  The most moving place was the American Cemetery. I was amazed at the huge crowd of visitors that were there.  We had to park far away.  Over 9000 American soldiers are buried there.  They died in the liberation of Normandy.  We watched 2 videos at the museum there. They were both very good.  I think they should be shown to everyone.
While walking through the cemetery my grandson, Caleb, kept asking me questions.  He wanted to know why these men had joined the military.  I had a hard time explaining the selective service and draft to him.  He wanted to know what would happen if you did not go when you were drafted.  I told him you would go to jail.  He asked wouldn't that have been better than dieing?  I said no it would not.  He could not understand it.  It was difficult to explain to an 8 year old that duty and honor come before self.  It was a precious moment that I will not soon forget.  This 8 year old hit the nail on the head!  This place was all about duty and honor. 
The Normandy visit is a once in a lifetime event.  I as so glad we went.  The next day we headed back to southern France by way of Mont St. Michel.  This is an island with a cathedral/abbey atop its peak.  There was a lot of buildings on this little island.  The streets were very narrow and crowded.  I was amazed at the number of people that were there.  We parked about a 1/2 a mile from the Island.  On our way out we saw miles and miles of bumper to bumper traffic headed toward Mont St. Michel.  We got back to Magrie about 11:00 pm.  It was a really good trip.  God bless you.

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