We visited Normandy in 2016.
I want my children to understand Memorial Day. I don’t want them to grow up thinking it’s just a day off school or work, for barbecues and pools and parties.
I want them to understand the importance of all the men and women who died for our freedoms, that we too often take for granted.
I want them to appreciate all of America’s Allies and how the world can work together for peace. But sometimes, we come together in conflict.
And we must remember.
We visited Utah Beach, the Normandy American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, and Pointe du Hoc.
We first visited Utah Beach Museum and monuments.
It was one of the few sunny days of our trip. It was chilly but lovely.
The beach is beautiful now, but holds so much sad history.
It’s hard to imagine all the lives lost on this beach.
We went to the Memorial Day service at the Normandy American Cemetery.
It was very emotional.
Normandy American Cemetery hosted its annual Memorial Day Ceremony on Sunday, May 29, 2016, at 10.30 am.
We got to stand right up at the railing!
|Master of Ceremonies||René Huard, AOMDA|
|Superintendent||Daniel L. Neese|
|Deputy Superintendent||Michael Coonce|
|The Marseillaise and the Star Spangled Banner|
|Welcoming Remarks||Daniel Neese|
|Opening Remarks||René Huard|
|Opening Prayers||Father Xavier Signargout, Diocese of Bayeaux and Lisieux|
Capt. Gary P. Weeden, Command Chaplain of U.S. European Command
Rabbi Meyer Malka, Jewish Community of Caen
|Addresses||Sara Harriger, U.S. Consul for Western France|
Patrick Thomines, Mayor of Coleville-sur-Mer
Laurent Fiscus, Prefect of Calvados Department
Lt. Gen. William B. Garrett, III, Deputy Commander of U.S. European Command
|Closing Prayer||Father Xavier Signargout, Diocese of Bayeaux and Lisieux|
|Laying of Wreaths|
|Taps-Raising of the Colors|
|Retiring of the Colors|
|Participation of Troops||5th Signal Command Color Guard, U.S. Army Europe|
Unit Garrison of Cherbourg, France
French Military Band of the Artillery of Rennes, France
9,387 Americans are buried at Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France.
The Memorial faces the United States at its nearest point to the cemetery – between Eastport and Lubec, Maine.
The 22-foot bronze statue entitled The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves.
The reflecting pool and chapel:
The beaches from the orientation table:
We got to watch an interview with WWII Veteran Curtis Phillips.
My kids got to shake his hand and thank him for his service.
This is something they will always remember!
We remember the fallen.
After the memorial service, we toured the Omaha Beach Museum and monuments.
There’s a good video in the museum and lots of static displays.
It really helped the kids (and I) understand the Normandy WWII battles.
The Omaha Beach has a monument in the sand: Les Braves.
An airplane did flybys around Pointe du Hoc and Omaha Beach for Memorial weekend.
I had a canvas made of this image.
In the afternoon, we hiked around Pointe du Hoc.
I never learned about this in school!
Pointe du Hoc is a promontory with a 100 ft (30 m) cliff overlooking the English Channel on the coast of Normandy in northern France. During World War II it was the highest point between Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east. The German army fortified the area with concrete casemates and gun pits. On D-Day (6 June 1944) the United States Army Ranger Assault Group assaulted and captured Pointe du Hoc after scaling the cliffs.
We were amazed by the bunkers and passageways and how the brave men conquered the area.