Normandy Landing Beaches

2024, Arizona, Europe, Family, France, International

With our ship docked at Le Havre, Paris, we chose a ship’s shore excursion to the World War II D-Day Landing Beaches. It’s been an “I can’t believe I’m really here!” kind of day. We Baby Boomers are the sons and daughters of The Greatest Generation. Our parents and grandparents we all involved in the war effort in one way or another in the 1940’s. We grew up knowing that the events of 6 June 1944 we incredibly significant in bringing the war in Europe to an end. Next month will be the 80th Anniversary of D-Day and today on the 79th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day we have the privilege to visit the beaches where an enormous number of personnel made the ultimate sacrifice to help achieve an Allied Victory against the Axis Forces. From Le Havre we enjoyed a bus ride through the beautiful Normandy countryside while our tour guide Natalie set the stage for us from a historical perspective. Although we’re both somewhat familiar with the history of World War II, we both learned a lot from her narration. We drove through Courseulles-sur-Mer which was code named Sword Beach before stopping Arromanches 360 where we saw an amazing movie in the round located next to Gold Beach where remnants of Mulberry harbours still exist. Next was a typical French lunch in Port-en-Bessin at Hôtel La Marine. Afterwards we enjoyed a few minutes to wander in this beautiful seaside town before moving on to the American Cemetery above Omaha Beach. It’s hard to describe our feelings at witnessing all those grave markers, contemplating all those lives cut short, and thinking of the horrors of battle. We experienced a sense of gratitude and actually a feeling of peace on this portion of land offered to the United States by France for the purpose of remembering. A little further on we visited the beach at Saint-Laurent-sur-mer, code named Omaha Beach. What was once part of The Atlantic Wall in a remote area of Normandy is now a beautiful beach in a resort town with prominent memorials to remind us of the battle that took place here. Our final stop was at Point-du-Hoc where the fortress installations have been preserved in an historic park and many are open to visitors. It’s been a most incredible experience!

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