The Adventure of Writing a Book, part 31

Two years ago, my husband and I traveled to Normandy Beach in France. Gene has been a student of World War II for most of his life and has read dozens of books and watched many documentaries and movies about the Second World War. At the top of his bucket list was a visit to Normandy Beach.

The scene was awesome, one of the best experiences of my entire life. We knew the story of our awesome military heroes who charged into freezing cold water, across an unprotected beach and up a sheer cliff in order to secure a foothold in the ultimate destruction of the Nazi Empire. But, to be there in person, to see the wide beach and the remains of gun turrets in the steep cliff that overlooked it, took our breath away.

The soldiers on the beach below were defenseless against the hail of bullets and mortars from above, but they came in anyway, dozens, hundreds, thousands of them dying. Some drowned in the waters before they ever made land. Others were cut down as they ran across the wide beach.

Above the beach is a beautiful memorial and a large cemetery with rows of crosses. A wide circular wall lists the names of the 10,000 Allied soldiers who perished in Normandy on D-Day. Over 6,000 were Americans. Our troops went over to Europe and died there to save the world from Hitler and the Nazi way of life. It was one of our proudest moments.

During our visit to Normandy, there was a brief ceremony where the French talked about how the Americans saved France and they thanked us profusely. A trumpet played Taps. Gene and I were in tears for most of the day.

I will never forget it.

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