Six-year-old Anna would probably gasp at the though of this, but I was very excited to learn all about the history and WWII sites around Normandy, France. When I was younger the thought of walking around learning about history would’ve bored me to tears, but this was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip.
We took a 5 hour long tour with a company that specialized in WWII history, and had our own personal tour guide who drove us around the area and let us walk around at each site. She spewed historical knowledge and definitely knew her stuff. There are so many beautiful photos I could use to show how moving and inspirational the tour was, and here are some of my favorites.
Omaha Beach was probably my favorite stop, the beach was so incredibly wide, photos don’t do it justice. There was a local walking his dogs down the shore, and as he walked further and further away from us and towards the ocean his silhouette became smaller, until I thought he would disappear completely. It seemed that he kept walking towards the water but never quite reached it.
Every rock and pebble on the beach seemed significant. On June 6, 1944 so many lost their lives on that very beach. As I stood there a strange calmness came over me as I took in the history, the solemnity, and vast expanse that lay before me.
Looking out over the waves was spooky in some ways, because after D-Day in June of 1944 the tide at Omaha Beach was red with blood for days. The beach is beautiful, but serves as a solemn historical memory and gravesite. However, many Americans are buried at the American National Cemetery just up the road, which has views of Omaha Beach (photos above).
Row after row of gravesites sat atop the hill, the cool ocean breeze blowing through the trees lining the pathways. There were roses everywhere, and reflection pools with lily pads lined walkways, where tourists wandered, taking everything in.
One of the most breathtaking sights at the cemetery was this statue.
It’s in honor of all those who lost their lives in WWII, and during the D-Day invasion. It’s meant to symbolize the spirit of the American youth, rising from the waves, and it serves as a beautiful and solemn tribute.