As a genealogist I have also found it important to become familiar with history to understand the behavior of my ancestors. It is also important to understand the history that happens during our lifetime.
Dave and I were fortunate to be able to travel to Germany frequently to visit our daughter and her family while they spent six years living there. Usually we stayed with the kids for two to three weeks and did a weekend tour or two by bus with a group. One of these tours was to Normandy, France and its beaches.
Dave had been a paratrooper during his military service and was a proud member of the 101st Airborne Division so the D Day invasion held a special fascination for him.
In the Spring of 2002, we boarded a bus in Sembach, Germany about 8:30 pm to travel through the night to Normandy. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the area and had some interesting insights into the War since his father had been a German soldier during the war.
I remember being on the beaches and seeing the fox holes which are still there. Somehow that was a surprise to me. Actually setting foot in such an historic site was mind boggeling. As we wandered the beaches we could only imagine what the soldiers had experienced. Dave was one of the many men of out group to capture a little of the sand in an empty film canister.
When we visited the American Cemetery I was in awe of the silence and respect shown by all of the visitors. Children and teens were silent and the only sound was the magnificent carillon as it chimed the hour. Another place we visited was the first French town liberated by the Americans and the place where the British gliders landed.
We did other things in Normandy of course but today I wish I had some Calvados so I could lift a glass to all those wonderful warriors.