A visit to the D-Day museum at Arromanches.
Remains of the Allied Forces’ portable piers and harbor pulled across the English Channel from Great Britain
can still be seen.
We also stopped at the village of Saint Mere Eglise
where American paratroopers of the 101st and 82nd
airborne divisions tragically landed in the town center occupied by the Nazis. The American paratrooper John Steele who landed in the bell tower of the church in the town square is immortalized by this ever present parachute and mannequin.
Our most memorable experiences here were talking to people who lived through the German occupation of Normandy
. Anne-Marie Chauvin recounted her memories as a ten year old in the square of Saint Mere Eglise
watching the American paratroopers fall from the sky while the Nazis shot at them from below. The gentleman in the photo below gave us a private tour of the Operation Cobra museum. His memory of the liberation of his small village of Marigny
by American troops still fills him with great emotion. One woman called the Americans “our saviors, our gods.” Others told us they knew what hunger was after living through the German occupation. It is a privilege to hear these stories from a generation who lived through it.
Our last stop in this part of our trip was to a German cemetery. Austere granite crosses in groups of threes and headstones where two German soldiers were buried were reminders of loss for both sides of the war.
Here German youths tend to the gardens and graves. Groups of young Germans come to France
every summer to take care of the German war cemeteries and to live with French families. A new generation in a new era and a promise for a peaceful and united Europe
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