It was time for us all to turn round and trundle back up towards Calais.
On the way we took in Omaha beach, Pont du Hoc and the American Cemetery.
We can often get grumpy (that’s probably not the right word, narked?) in the UK about the American help that we got, I don’t think we like to admit that the Americans made such a difference to the victory ;) We especially don’t like Hollywood changing the stories, and as the years have gone by it’s kind of a well known view that the Americans think they won the war and we don’t like that! Seeing the areas that they arrived and the huge job they had brings it all in to perspective though. How can you ever have any feeling other than gratefulness when you see the huge loss of life, the huge undertaking and just the whole thing through your own eyes?
Visiting Normandy reaffirmed my reasons for travelling with my kids. We all enjoy history, but there is a huge difference to learning about something in a book, or on a tv programme than seeing it in real life. When we ever talk about Normandy or watch a film about it (which we have done lots since we came back) we can relate to it much more, it’s not a random beach name, it’s somewhere we have walked and seen. It’s not just a nation helping out and a number of people killed, it’s the field with thousands of crosses in it with individuals named.
I think I’ll be reflecting on this trip for some time to come.