Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Normandy, 2000

Jeudi, le 10 juillet.

In honor of my upcoming day trip to Caen, this Throwback Thursday is a throwback to 2000, when the Bloxams made a family trip to Normandy!

During our tour of the WWII museums and D-Day sites that litter the region, we explored the Point du Hoc ... and I mean EXPLORED! Because when you're five and seven years old, everything is a jungle gym. Especially half-destroyed concrete bunkers.


In addition to this site, which was captured by an elite team of U.S. Rangers on D-Day, we also visited Omaha Beach, one of several beaches where other Allied forces landed.

According to my mom, her most vivid memory of this leg of the journey was when Madeleine and I fell in love with the same rock. On a beach full of thousands millions of identical rocks, we simply had to have THE. EXACT. SAME. ONE. (Sorry, Mommy.)

It's easy to forget the human toll of D-Day when searching for the perfect rock on a now-pristine beach, but the American Cemetery serves as a permanent reminder of the Allied sacrifice. We walked around the nearly-empty cemetery and saw the tomb of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. This heroic general and veteran of both WWI and WWII insisted on landing on Utah Beach with his troops, despite being the oldest man in the invasion and the only general to land with the first wave of soldiers. In addition to be awarded the Medal of Honor, he received the undeniable honor of being portrayed by Henry Fonda in The Longest Day. TRJ survived D-Day, but was allowed to be interred in the cemetery, next to his younger brother Quentin, who was shot down during WWI.

During our Normandy trip, we also visited the famed island abbey of Mont Saint-Michel. I remember walking around the abbey a little bit, but I'll never forget when my dad told us the car had been washed away. As you know, the tide rises around Mont Saint-Michel, and he was able to convince both me and Madeleine that the rising water had completely covered our car. (Spoiler: it hadn't.)


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