I happen to be one lucky girl when it comes to travel and touring really gorgeous and unique lands. I have had the privilege of walking across the bridge at Lucern, Switzerland. I have stood under the Eiffel tower and looked up to watch my husband running up the stairs. I have snorkeled with the colorful fish at Hanauma Nature Preserve, Hawaii. I have been lucky enough to swim with the Rays off the Bahama Islands. I have walked through the Straw market in Nassau and waited a very, very long 14 minutes for the customs guards to return my passport on the Poland border. I have been treated with kindness and friendliness at the welcome center in Ohio and walked in the beads of tar in the sand on the shore of Corpus Cristie, Texas. I have stood in the hall of mirrors in the Palace of Versailles and had my picture taken with the huge Einstein statue in Washington, DC.
This morning I woke up to a depiction of today’s anniversary. Looks sort of silly and childlike. It looks like something we would have done during our homeschooling years. I reminded me to remember.
The most meaningful and life changing trip my family and I ever took was on the 50th anniversary of D Day. The northern coast of France. My husband and I and two young boys were there 1994.
Yes, we were one of many millions of people who have made pilgrimages to Mont-St-Michel. That tour left a lasting impression. We visited Ste-Mere-Eglise. We went to the church with the parachute and soldier stained glass piece. Today, I can remember and “feel” the stillness and the coolness of the inside of the church. I have stood on the ground at Le Hoc Point. I have walked on Omaha Beach. I have felt the sand sift through my fingers on Utah Beach. I listened and learned about Arromanches. We took our boys to the cemetery to pay our respects. I can still feel the lump in my throat all day. I saw the cliffs our military charged, knowing full well the Germans would be shooting at them. I have crawled in a bunker and looked out at the sea. I have used my most horrid imagination. I watched as my husband took our boys and stood in the still visible trenches. It was his mission to teach and pass on to our boys our history. It was his mission to teach the words of Valor and Honor and Respect.
Somehow instead of creating military men, we created men that hate war and what it
leaves behind. Somewhere along the way in teaching them what it all meant, we taught them what peace is. In the end, we raised men of honor.
My husband is one of the most patriotic, military men you will meet. He wanted our boys to see Normandy. He wanted our family to be there. I will say, he planned our trip for one week after the actual 50th anniversary. He said that week was for warriors and families. We would wait our turn.
Our family was forever changed from that day forward.
We were there. We remember. We will always remember. We brought back grains of sand to give to our families and friends so that they too might remember.
In our home, we have a French crystal box with grains of sand contained in it. There is a card where the words are penned just like the ones engraved at the cemetery.
“Freedom is forever hallowed by the ideals, the valor and the sacrifice.
Normandy, France 1944-1994
It is well that war is so terrible we would grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee