Wednesday, July 18, 2007

D-Day

Today was all about D-Day. These pics are for you, Mom, since you're one of the history buffs that will probably know a lot of what I am about to gush about. Wow. Does that cover it? WOW! Do you feel it now? I can't believe how amazing everything today has been. Bless Tyler's heart I had our day planned and we were off and kickin' . . . as soon as we quit hitting snooze on the alarm. Only an hour behind my packed schedule, we started with a lovely french continental breakfast that cost us too much, but had fabulous hot chocolate. Then I navigated us to the coastal roads that carried us up through all these French villages to the main sites of the Battle of Normandy. Now, I like history, but I don't know how much of what I'll share shows my ignorance, so bear with me. ALSO, my battery is needing charging, so I'll try and be quick. Apparantly the Battle of Normandy was, like, a two month campaign. Not a few days, like I imagined. I also hadn't worked out what the Germans were doing beyond the June 6th and 7th storming of the beaches. Pretty much they were fighting like heck to maintain their postion across the continent. Anyhow, I can share way more facts and figures later (I LOVE a good museum and books . . . I keep buying books for my souveniers.) We drove past the French and Canadian beaches, which are really level compared to the bluffs where the British and American forces entered. The first stop was Arronmanches, pretty much the British headquarters. So, I learned about the amazing technology about how the armed forces made this innovative, never-been-done-before, super-secret, two-year-project homemade port to help the Allies gain a foothold in France. Why did they have to do that? Well. Germany had these honkin' huge battlement guns pointed up and down the coast and were poised to destroy any challenge to the established ports. And the weather was a factor, and on and on. Uh! So much. Anyhow, they made these two floating ports (one British and one American), the American one ended up destroyed by weather, but they were able to salvage the British one and that's how the Allies ended up with ALL their supplies, like thousands of tons of stuff. Anyhow, so this first stop is of the village of Arronmanches. The port was out to the right and they sunk a bunch of stuff and made floating roads ... really amazing.

They had a great museum in Arronmanches celebrating "Port Winston" (Winston Churchill was a huge force in making these home-made ports a reality.) The museum had a couple videos and some cool relics. I thought this one of Tyler and a big gun was funny.

We then drove up to the American beaches and got out at the American Memorial and Cemetery right above Omaha Beach. And Ohmygosh! Words really can't explain the reverance and Tyler kept saying (as we were walking down this crazy, long, steep, paved path down to the actual beach) "No way they could get through all this stuff." I had read that getting to the beach was only the beginning of the trial for the soldiers because the climb up was so treacherous. Yeah, did y'all know it was marshland and thick brush all along the coast of Omaha and Utah beaches? And so steep? It was crazy. I've got pictures I can post later of how thick the growth was, but here's one of the headstones overlooking the ocean.

It was awesome. And I know that hardly covers it, but my battery is about out and it's dinner time. I think Tyler's snoozing or watching French TV, so I'd better go get him going again. Talk to you soon!


Wow. Do you get it? Wow. Does that convey all the emotions and impact that visiting all the D-Day sites today gave me? Probably not, but as Tyler and I were talking it's all we could really decided might cover it. Wow. First off, I like history, but I am not sure how my knowledge compares to anyone elses, so excuse me, history buffs, if some of this is repetitive and my ignorance shines through. So, pretty much the technology in 1940 that was used to put in action the D-day plans was incredible, never-been-done, super-secret, and desperate. I call that blessed.

9 comments:

chanel said...

this was your coolest post yet! I am probably wose than you when it comes to knowign history and what yous aid really does give a great insight to the experience of being there- wow! This was way cool. Amazing what has been done for freedom.
And on a lighter note, can I just say you will NEVER forget French Hot Chocolate! ryan and I were there in '98 and I still talk about the HC, Choc chip cookies, and teh BREAD! mama mama!!!

The Fatman said...

Wow Checking out Graves and guns!!! Where is the relaxing massage on the beach part?? Wheres the fine French Cuisine?? Wheres the late night... Oh wait that would be my vacation. Ok so what are some of the other fun stuff your doing and you do not have to post a huge post just a bunch of pictures of rolling hills and green anything (That is the sad realty of a person from Vegas) Also try to take as many pictures of snooty French people as you can. But only the snooty ones!!

Erin said...

Wow, way cool. And look at Tyler's big ummm... gun. Way to plan your days! I'm sure you (as I would too) have lots of lists to go along with your schedules. And I want to know if yours & Tyler's clothes are coordinating each day now that you have your luggage with all your cute clothes?

Jerolyn said...

LOVE IT~dang girl can't wait to see all the photos.

Beth said...

You know I'm just a wee bit envious of the whole Normandy D-Day thing. The cemetary is awe-inspiring, even in just the photos. I'm not all knowing about the invasion, but I do know it was HUGE. Huge in relevance and importance and took a HUGE group effort. And yes, the Germans were serious about not giving up their stronghold. Wouldn't have been a fun time for the French people, to say the least. You can imagine why they were so happy when the Allies liberated Paris. 'Nuff said. Love you. See you next Thursday since I'll be gone when you get home, darn it.

Beth said...

I went over to your house and saw the kids for a while tonight. Everything is well under control. I read a story to Caylee and tried to get Brevin to come to me, but he was all about Liz. Brock was running around being very happy and Kenzie was modeling her new shoe find. The boys were in their pjs and really, all was good. We read scriptures, sang a little primary music and had a huge group hug and kisses before I left. They'll be glad to see you, I know, but they seem ok. Caylee is brown, brown from time in the pool.

candice said...

hey sarah -- your dday post finally made me comment!! you and tyler are taking the exact route that me, my mom and heidi and her husband took a couple of years ago. honfleur was my favorite city too. but the dday days were REALLY cool -- if a bit emotionally overwhelming. especially the american graves / memorial. so interesting. i'm jealous -- you guys are having too much fun!

Nan said...

I can't believe how crazy your trip has been. It seriously stresses me out just reading about it. Isn't it nice that when you are older, you can learn to adapt much quicker to unforseen circumstances:) I hope you post tons more pictures! They are all so beautiful...even the one of Tyler and his "gun". Will you be purchasing a copy of book 7 while you are over there?! If you haven't read my blog yet, mine will be delivered today! I'm a big nerd. Hope you are still having a fabulous time! Be safe and come home fulfilled!!

Tyler said...

The D-Day beaches was our favorite part of France. It was just awsome. The quiet and reverence there! I reccomend that to any patriotic American citizen. It gives you an idea of the sacrifice of that generation.