When we went to Paris for the second time, we decided to do something different. Seeing that Normandy was a 3 hour drive from Paris, we took the opportunity to visit the site where D-Day occurred. Herbie is a HUGE history buff and since this trip was to celebrate his birthday, I saw it fitting to discover the Normandy region and step on the grounds where some of our bravest soldiers fought and died for our Country.
So we rented a car, packed our lunch and off we went. Our first stop was a D-Day Museum in Arromanches. The museum was built on the artificial harbor. A lot of information is provided in this museum, including how artificial ports were constructed and used in order to land on that historical day. Very fascinating stuff. A little background on artificial ports…The military knew that the piers were heavily guarded by the Nazis, so they knew they would have to select open waters, bring the ports and piers in pieces and assemble them just off shore.
After soaking in all the information the museum had to offer, we headed to the St Laurent Cemetery. This cemetery is an American cemetery located in Normandy that has troops from D-Day. Among the 9000+ buried bodies, over 300 are unknown and 4 are women. This cemetery is located on top of a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach. We went in February so it was chilly, which only added to the emotions we were feeling while being there.
Our last stop was Omaha Beach. This beach is near the cemetery and it is the beach that was most intensely fought after on D-Day. The Omaha Beach Museum was closed when we visited, however we were able to see the Omaha Beach memorial sculpture, Les Braves. Right on the sand, in one of the bloodiest battlefields, stands the huge memorial sculpture. Grand and made out of metal, the sculpture is there to remind us that this is no ordinary beach. Les Braves consists of three elements…
The wings of Hope: So that the spirit which carried these men on June 6th, 1944 continues to inspire us, reminding us that together it is always possible to changing the future.
Rise, Freedom!: So that the example of those who rose against barbarity, helps us remain standing strong against all forms of inhumanity.
The Wings of Fraternity: So that this surge of brotherhood always reminds us of our responsibility towards others as well as ourselves. On June 6th, 1944 these man were more than soldiers, they were our brothers. ~Anilore Banon (Sculptor).
We are Blessed to know a wonderful WWII Veteran. My brother-in-law’s father, Mr. Villalobos, was present on this historical day. He was an American troop who was sent out on a mission (one of 32 he ultimately carried out) to bring down the Nazis. Mr. Villalobos, who is still very much alive today and healthy (gracias a Dios), lives in California. We sent my brother-in-law, Joemanny, some sand from the Normandy beaches so he could present to his father. When Mr. Villalobos received the sand, he poured some sand in his hand, kissed the sand, then put the sand back in the bottle. May God Bless Mr. Villalobos and everyone else who was present on D-Day.