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Firsthand (from Paris – 25 June 2010) August 30, 2010

Posted by Andrew Punnoose in Travel Log.
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Our trip to Normandy today was both beautiful and rather sobering. We visited Bayeux and its D-Day Museum, not too far from Omaha Beach, where the opening scene to ‘Saving Private Ryan’ was filmed. If you’ve ever seen the movie, you know the intensity of the scene, said to be a fair representation of what it was like for the soldiers storming the coast. The museum overlooks the ocean and provides a trail right down to the beach. It was hard imagining the events of December 7th taking place on the bright and sunny beach I was walking along.

Bayeux/Normandy

The view from the water, looking at one of the beaches that was stormed on D-Day

I appreciated the museum, cemetery, and beach for the emotions they conveyed even more than for the information they provided. Of course, the way the exhibits offered timelines, personal accounts, and background on D-Day was stellar. The museum also helped bring into the focus the reasons for the creation of the European Union, which had its beginnings in the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC)(created in 1952). In the wake of the World Wars, the ECSC was created to regulate the raw materials used to drive the engines of war in the hopes of preventing future wars. The emotions and knowledge on display at the D-Day museum helped viscerally present the war as a real event rather than a page in a history book. I have no hope of conveying to you in words what was conveyed to me as a sensory experience, so I’ll just let some of the photos I took do the speaking. If you ever find yourself in France, I’d recommend seeing these firsthand.

D-Day Museum

The interior of the D-Day Museum

Normandy - Cemetery

The cemetery by the D-Day museum

Normandy Cemetery - Marker

A marker for an unknown fallen soldier

D-Day Museum Memorial

A memorial for those who gave their lives

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