I'm just now getting time to write about my trip to Normandy this past weekend!
First, we traveled to Caen, which is a city right next to all of the D-Day beaches, to explore the WWII memorial museum there. It was very very interesting to read and learn about WWII from a non-American perspective. I learned so many things I had not previously known. The museum took you chronologically through the history of France from the end of WWI all the way to the end of WWII. A lot more things happened during this time frame than I was aware of! Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the museum:
I don't know why, but Hitler in front of the Eiffel Tower just really had an effect on me. Made me realize how serious the invasion of Northern France was during the war.
French version of the "Juden" stars
A French soldier coming home to his family! :)
Found some American dogtags!!
After the museum in Caen, we went to the American cemetary at Omaha Beach. Needless to say, I shed many tears here, which was odd to me because it was the second time I had been there and I had not cried before. It's a very moving place.
This isn't even a fourth of the crosses (and jewish stars) that were there.
This is my favorite picture of the day by far, especially the blue sky!
After visiting the cemetery, we went to another part of Omaha Beach that has complete open access to the public (where all the pictures of American soldiers storming the beach were taken). We were only allowed 20 minutes there, so we had to make the best of it! We all stripped off our socks and shoes, rolled up our jeans, and dashed into the freezing cold water! It was the first time I had ever set foot in the Atlantic Ocean :)
My "WHOOP 2013" in the sand! :)
Maria et moi
After all the beach excitement, we went to Pointe-du-Hoc (my personal favorite), which is in between Utah and Omaha beach (the two beaches that American troops stormed) and is basically a giant cliff that General James Earl Rudder stormed with his troops after they bombed the ever-livin' ever-lovin' hell out of it! In fact, once the soldiers actually got up the cliff, they literally couldn't see anything because of all the dirt and smoke everywhere due to the amount of bombs that exploded on the surface. It was utter mayhem, and there were many accidental ally deaths, but it was the sacrifice they knew they were making.
One side of the cliff
Me at the entrance of a bunker that is still completely intact
Good view of what the crater-filled surface looks like
completely obliterated bunker
Our final stop was the German cemetery. It was a good reminder that all souls deserve to be respected and prayed for because not everyone that was a Nazi had choice whether they wanted to fight and die for that cause or not.
what the German graves look like
It was an emotionally heavy day, but it was a wonderful experience and I really am happy I got to go back to Normandy again. It's a wonderful place where you can remember how lucky you are to be an American and how grateful you are for the thousands of soldiers who died.
Well, tomorrow is my birthday, the big 21, woohoo can't wait!!! :)
A toute a l'heure!