Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I had a really interesting time in Normandy. It was not the best time to be there due to weather and the fact that they were in the tourist low season. If you wanted a tour of the beaches, you were out of luck. Snow had hampered the area for the past 2 weeks and many locals hadn't been able to go anywhere for three days prior. On the plus side, I already knew something about the history and could show myself around. There was good information in English throughout the major sites (especially the American Cemetery). Unfortunately, my camera ran out of juice in the middle of the day. I still got some cool shots - mostly of Point Du Hoc, a place where a Ranger battalion mounted steep cliffs to overtake a heavily fortified German position.

That still wasn't the best part of the day. At closing time at the American Cemetery on the east end of Omaha Beach, I participated in the ceremony to take down the flags that fly over the headstones. The guy holding the other end was an Eagle Scout - everything about the ceremony was very patriotic. We pulled the flag down, folded it, and handed it to a 30 year veteran who lives and works full time at the cemetery. It was definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity. Any other time I go back, it would likely be in the high-season and much more crowded. I guess there are benefits to traveling when there is no transportation to support your trip. It was a great day and an awesome way to geek-out on history. It's nice to really experience the sites.

Looking down Omaha Beach towards the American Cemetery

In Bayeux, the closest town to the beaches
On Point du Hoc at one of the bunkers
Folding the flag in the cemetery

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