Remembering World War 2: The Beaches of Normandy, The American Cemetery, and Pont du Hoc
Just a 3-hour drive from Paris, we had one of the most memorable sight-seeing experiences of our lives. Sterling loaned us “The Longest Day” movie to watch before we went to the beaches of Normandy, which was so wise. We watched it with the kids and talked about how incredible it was that so many American (and British, Canadian, and French) soldiers willingly gave their lives to come over to a country that they didn’t know just to fight for freedom. And so many didn’t even make it off the boats alive... shot immediately, or stepped off into too-deep water and drowned. We stood in the sand on Omaha beach and imagined how the Germans felt when they saw the Allied forces coming over the horizon toward them.
At Pont du Hoc, we walked among the bombed out holes in the ground where our pilots destroyed the German bunkers. (Kenny fell into one of the bomb holes and got thorns all over his hands and legs. That changed the dynamics of the rest of the trip… stopping to find a pharmacy for tweezers and numbing meds, and pulling all those stickers out of his skin as he screamed. It helped to put ‘Tangled’ on the laptop when we got back to the Formula1 hotel to distract him.) This whole day was beyond unforgettable… I think my favorite was walking barefoot along the beach, and solemnly walking thru the rows of almost 10,000 soldiers buried. Unbelievable.
The American Cemetery memorial is incredible - stories and videos of the real men and women and their lives. Actual grenades, guns and helmets on display. It leaves you simply speechless.
Point du Hoc: the D-Day bombed out battleground. Probably the most amazing of it all - it feels like you're right there where it happened, since the bomb holes are still there. Kenny fell in one crater accidentally and the ensuing experience of digging out his thorns was quite memorable...