This year will be the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.
On some of our tours, when visiting memorials or monuments, we like to ask the question why do we as a society build memorials? A cynic might say it is a combination between special interest groups, politics and money. That may or may not shed some light on the behind the scenes of “how memorials get made”. However, we are asking why are they made or better yet, why are they important to everyone? The answers we receive vary from “because history is fun or interesting”, “to make people feel good”, or “to remember”. I believe that last one gets the closest.
This year (2019) on June 6, will be the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion during World War II. During the entire battle of Normandy it is reported that over 425,000 Allied and German troops were killed, wounded or went missing.
As the old saying goes those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. The reality is, life is finite and the world keeps turning. Every day fewer and fewer World War II veterans remain alive and at some point there will be no more living World War II veterans. That is a terribly sad thought, but there is a silver lining. Their legacy will live on through the memorials we build. That right there is the important piece. The people who lived through these horrific events throughout history will not be able to share their stories forever. At some point those people will leave us. But, the stories need to be told. They need to live on for future generations to learn from. So maybe, just maybe, little by little the next generation can be better than the one that came before it.
The entire Normandy Region is filled with visitor centers, museums, memorials, and cemeteries. The memorial in the header image can be found on Omaha Beach. This region is a very important place to see and experience. The magnitude of the lessons to be learned here are 1000x greater in person than they ever will be in a blog article or in a book. For those reasons we strongly recommend people add the Normandy Beaches to their bucket list.
Shameless Plug: We have a tour departing to Normandy in late October of 2019. It will be a River Cruise with AmaWaterways. You can find more information about it here. It will be quite the experience covering much of France. The cruise departs from Pairs, sails to Normandy and then sails back to Paris. Stopping at many beautiful and iconic places along the way. One of which is Normandy.
Whether you travel with us or not, we do hope that the next time you are traveling you will take time to appreciate the monuments and memorials you may come across. All of these structures were built for a reason and they all tell an important story.