Destination Spotlight: Normandy.
I’m back with another wonderful article from my brother on the French city of Normandy. I hope you enjoy!
World War II was a conflict that shaped a generation. It was so globe spanning that many battles were fought on beaches, through deserts, in jungles and on the high seas. Europe was the main stage for the conflict, and saw Allied Forces fighting side by side in battles against Nazi units.
Nowhere else was the fighting more evident than in Normandy, a seaside town in France that played a pivotal role. Today, students and educators to the region can follow in the footsteps of history thanks to a multitude of museums, cemeteries, monuments and landmarks dedicated to the famed D-Day Invasions.
Perhaps the most obvious choice for students and teachers wishing to understand the nature of the operation first hand is to visit one of the five beaches that the Allied forces landed on. Utah and Omaha are perhaps the most recognizable, as they were the staging grounds for U.S. troops, while Sword and Gold were where the British landed leaving Juno for the Canadian forces.
Educational travelers should also take the time to visit the American Cemetery and Visitor Center. War comes with a cost, and nowhere is this more evident than in the rows of stone sigils representing the heroes who gave their life in the line of duty. To get a full, well-rounded view of the scope of the conflict and the men who fought in it, teachers should also consider visiting the German Military Cemetery, also located in Normandy.
The American Airborne Museum is another must-see stop for any educational tour. The museum is dedicated to chronicling the missions of the soldiers who served as the first combat paratroopers in Operation Overlord. The museum has the distinct honor of being the world’s largest museum solely dedicated to American Paratroopers. The museum also allows visitors to step inside an authentic C-47 that flew during D-Day. How cool is that?!
Students can also immerse themselves in the D-Day invasion at the state-of-the-art Arromanches 360º Experience. Utilizing a 360º degree high definition screen and surround sound, visitors are shown archive and newsreel footage from the operation. Constructed on the cliff tops overlooking artificial Allied harbors, this installation is an intriguing combination of technology based museum experience and real-world landmark.
I want to emphasize that these points of interest are just a small sample of the myriad of museums and landmarks dotting the shores of Normandy. A popular activity for students and teachers who are on educational tours to Normandy hop from one town to the next taking the time to explore the many villages, bridges, museums, landing beaches, and hills that were ground zero for the invasion and liberation of France. Also be on the lookout for artifacts and memorabilia from the War in the many local shops and antique markets scattered throughout the region.
The D-Day Invasions of Normandy were a turning point in WWII, and a lot can be learned from visiting the region on an educational tour. I hope after reading this post you have a sudden urge to start planning your next EA educational student tour.
Until next time,