Monday, January 7, 2008

France, Part Deux - A Day in Normandy

Well, I FINALLY got Chris to write something in this Blog! Yeah!

While Barbara was touring the gardens in Giverny, The Cronces and I spent our last day together in France driving north to Normandy. Our plan was to see the allied invasion beaches, Ste-Mere Eglise and Pointe du Hoc. We managed to do all of those things after figuring out how to get through French toll booths (once putting money in the wrong slot, once trying a non functioning credit card and once getting in a “truck only” lane). We don’t talk about that much.

Having a look at a bunker at Pointe du Hoc. Our friend Jay Burke's uncle was one of the US Army Rangers that scaled the cliff on D Day (and thankfully lived to tell the tale).

You can see the artillery shell craters still - it was a hard won day.

The church (eglise) in the village of Ste-Mere Eglise (this is the church tower where Red Buttons character was stuck by his parachute in the movie The Longest Day)

We toured the allied war museum at Ste-Mere Eglise which is where the US 82nd Airborne parachuted into France early in the morning of June 6. A “must see” if you ever get there.

However, the biggest highlight of the day was a town fair where we found the best sausage sandwiches in all of France. Craig had been jonesing for a hit of American comfort food for days. As soon as we stepped from the car, planning to tour the museum, the smell of sausage and onion hit us. Craig was a happy man. After nourishment, we continued on finally ending at Omaha Beach. It’s hard to describe what it must have been like that morning.

The most moving part of the day was a walk through the American cemetery. Eight thousand of our countrymen rest there now. The French government has ceded the land to the United States. If you ever go there, you will never forget it.
Craig and Chris walking
in the cemetary

We finally found our way back home after getting lost a time or two but it was a great day.

1 comment:

S'n'L Ted said...

I remember our trip to Normandy like it was yesterday! What a wonderful place to visit especially if your a WW2 history buff. I can't count the times I've thought to myself what it must have been like for the allies on that "day of days". The cemetery at Omaha beach is the most personally moving place I've ever been to. If your ever in doubt of what the cost of freedom is/was all you need to do is visit this place to be reminded.
Also moving to me was the visit we made to the German cemetery in the area. The name escapes me at this time but it was a "must see" way point to this trip and to the other side of this war.