History Comes Alive: Our Day at Omaha Beach

This is my youngest daughter, standing on a beautiful stretch of beach this past summer. 

But it’s not just any old beach. 

It’s Omaha Beach, in Normandy, France. 

The beach where my Great Uncle fought on D-Day in 1944. 

It’s one thing to read about history in a book at school.

It’s quite another to watch your children climb down into 80 year old German bunkers. 

One of the many bunkers still there, 80 years later.

To stand on that beach with your toes in the sand looking up at those bunkers and really understand, for the first time, the incredible physical disadvantage Allied troops had landing on the beach that day. It seemed to me a miracle anyone survived.

The bunkers are up on those hills, so it became quickly obvious that our troops had been in an extremely vulnerable position landing on that beach.

We were on a family road trip around France and only a couple hours away from Normandy. 

I expected we would stop by the museum and the beach, and have a good little history lesson with our kids.

I was not expecting the emotions that overtook me when we arrived. 

As we stood in the American Cemetery looking out at the graves of the 9388 soldiers buried there, most no older than my son standing next to me, I found myself overwhelmed and in tears for these men, so far from home, who never made it back to their families.

Omaha beach is a beautiful beach and standing there watching kids swim in the water, and dig castles in the sand, it was a little surreal thinking of what happened on that beach 80 years ago.

So today, I would just like to say thank you to my dad, and all who are serving, and have served, our country.

Happy Veterans Day.

I was born when my dad was overseas. This is him meeting me for the first time.
My dad (center) and his Navy buddies.

If you enjoyed this post, check out a similar one I wrote about the time my son and I met two amazing World World II Veterans: “The Day My Son and I Watched History Come Alive In One Incredible Moment”