Monday, December 3, 2007

Normandy, France - Retracing History (Part 2)

On this day in June 2004, this Normandy beach was calm, as seen in the photo. Out of range of this photo is a child riding his bicycle along the path. On June 6, 1944, this same beach was anything but calm as allied troops landed here.

President Clinton, marking the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, said 

"On that chilled dawn, these beaches echoed with the sounds of staccato gunfire, the roar of aircraft, the thunder of bombardment. And through the wind and the waves came the soldiers, out of their landing craft and into the water, away from their youth and toward a savage place many of them would sadly never leave."

Walking on this beach, I couldn't help but remember my dad and the struggles that he had endured on this very same beach 60 years ago. Fortunately, my dad had managed to leave this savage place, but it had left a mark on him forever. This is truly an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.

The guns are silent now, but they still remain as a remembrance of the past. Our guide took us to all the major Normandy beaches during our tour. He brought along photo albums containing pictures from 1944 which he shared with us in each location.

Take a look at my Normandy Beaches album for more photos during this portion of our tour.

Not far from the Normandy beaches was another one of our stops, Le Grand Bunker Museum . The view at the left is looking out from the bunker. From the outside of the building, you'd never expect to find many small rooms accessible via narrow passages. There were several rooms including a radio room, operating room, supply rooms, and of course the observation room from which machine gun fire and grenades rang out in June, 1944. Click for More Photos.
We made a photo stop at Pegasus Bridge where there's a museum that tells the story of 6th (Airborne) Division on D-Day. There's also a cafe there. Click for More Pictures.
In my next post, I'll take you to St. Mere Eglise, Point du Hoc, and Honfluer for the conclusion of our Normandy tour.

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