By Dan Friesen on August 4, 2016
We left Bayeux this morning to explore the D-Day beaches of Normandy. This is an experience that tests the mind and strains the emotions. It is difficult to wrap one’s three pound brain around the scope of the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944 – the largest amphibious invasion in the history of the planet, and the turning point of the war.
The numbers are numbing – tens of thousands of fighting men, the hundreds of ships, paratroopers dropped behind enemy lines, mind-boggling logistics in coordinating all the supplies, an artificial harbor built in a matter of hours…everything about this episode in WW2, and in the history of mankind, is larger than life, including, unfortunately, the casualties.
We walked through two of the better visitor centers, wandered through the American Military Cemetery at Omaha Beach, where the carnage was the greatest, and talked with a local guide about navigating our group through these challenging historical and emotional straits next summer.
Right now we are blocking the entire day for the D-Day beaches, and hope to return to our base in Bayeux in mid to late afternoon.
Bayeux is a charming town with a village ambiance in the center. It was one of the first towns liberated, and we plan to stay in the Churchill Hotel – its walls lined with vintage photographs from the days of the Battle of Normandy. Our hope is that the gentle vibes of this delightful French town will provide an offsetting charm to the harsh realities we expose ourselves to on this day.
“Soldiers’ graves are the greatest preachers of peace.” Albert Schweitzer