Just as I did not fully comprehend the significance of the Berlin Wall until I visited Berlin, I did not fully comprehend the magnitude of the D-Day invasion during WW II until I visited Normandy. I knew from the second I left Paris that I wanted to visit France again. So, my friends and I began scheming about places, and we decided on the Normandy coast line, as well as a day trip to the Monastery-island of Mont St. Michel.
Friday morning rolled around, and we hoped on a train to Caen, the largest city near the beaches. When we arrived, without skipping a beat, we picked up a nine-passenger van we’d rented, and drove the hour and a half to Mont St. Michael to catch the sunset. And boy let me tell you, it was worth it. Although it was freezing and windy, I could have stood staring at it forever. Legend has it, the archangel Michael visited a french bishop in a dream and instructed him to build a house of God on the island. It has served as a source of inspiration ever since, and even inspired the castles in the Disney films, “Tangled” and, “The Little Mermaid.” I fell in love with the unique site, and am so glad to be able to cross it off my abroad bucket list.
The next morning we woke up bright and early and drove to Omaha beach, one of the sights of the American invasion. As I walked along the wind-swept shore, I couldn’t help but imagine the thousands of young men in boats on their way towards an uncertain future. Most of them were not much older than me at the time, yet they were about to partake in one of the brutalist battles in history.
My dad, a self-proclaimed history buff, would have loved this trip. I couldn’t stop thinking about him, so I wrote his name in the sand!
Next, we hoped on over to the American cemetery, where the majority of deceased D-Day soldiers are buried. The museum is incredibly well done, and I enjoyed walking the grounds. It was a sobering experience, to say the least. It astounds me that people can be convinced to give their lives for other people. Bravery and courage emanated from every tomb stone.
Lastly, we visited Utah beach, another American landing site. One of the main reasons the Allied powers won the battle was because of sheer numbers. They had everything going against them- yet somehow they were able to turn the tides of war. The landscape of Utah beach reminded me of the east coast, particularly North Carolina.
All in all, an incredible, educational, and down right fun weekend. This trip is definitely worth while, and I hope I can return one day with my family. Stay tuned for a video of the trip, coming soon to a
theater blog near you!