Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24: Dog Green Beach

We started today early at the Dog Green Beach section of Omaha Beach. This site had special significance because it was where our soldier, Frederick Smith came ashore with the Rangers on D-Day. We know he ascended the beach and was killed helping to secure the bunker. Tim and I were able to gain some insight for the website. We both are visualizing this coming together at this point. We are very excited to create a tribute to this young man who gave his life in the fight for Freedom.
Omaha Beach (panorama)

Tim and Nathan are discussing the path the Rangers followed up the beach to secure the Bunkers and Point Du Hoe

This was very moving. Several of the students wrote in the sand, "WE REMEMBER" and then wrote their soldiers names in the sand below.

Sharon and Tim in the poppy fields

Finishing their eulogies

Students are putting the finishing touches on the Eulogies they will present tomorrow at the Normandy American Cemetery. Each student has chosen a soldier buried there from their home state. They have done research and are making web pages in their honor. These soldiers were all just a year or two older than our students, and have no living descendants. These eulogies and future web pages will honor these heroes.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June 23: An Emotional Detour

One of the students on the trip from Minnesota, discovered while doing her soldier research that there is a statue of him in a small town very close to us. We took a short detour and went to visit it. She placed flowers at the statue and gave a very emotional brief on the young man. She brought home to us, "The true price of Freedom . . ." There wasn't a dry eye. Very emotional day.
In addition to touring the Bocage, we also visited the German cemetery, followed by the British cemetery. They were very different and created quite the discussion. The students really discussed this and had some very intelligent conversations. 

June 23: The Bocage Area

Today, Tim and Sharon went to the Bocage area, stopping at Villars Bocage Hill 213. This is where Michael Wittmann (German tank commander) stopped the British 7th Armored Division, in the attack toward Caen. The hedgerows were so thick the British didn't know the German Panzer units were 10 feet away from them. The pictures in this post are of Hill 213 and the hedgerows


Saturday, June 22, 2013

June 22: Craters at Pointe du Hoc

The craters are from the bombing attacks from the Allied forces. In addition to trying to clear out the Germans, the craters also gave the Allied soldiers protection. From these pictures you can see the difficulty the Allies encountered trying to climb up from the beach under heavy fire. It is amazing they were able to accomplish this mission! 

June 22: Point de Hoc

The final stop today was at Pointe du Hoc. Tim did his briefing on the 2nd Ranger Battalion who scaled the cliffs to help secure the beach, also under heavy artillery fire from the battery above. 

Sharon videotaping Tim's presentation

The landscape is breathtaking, looking out from the point! Tim kept telling me as we walked along the cliff, how truly lucky we are to have been chosen for this wonderful program! It is definitely a life changing experience for all of us! 

Dr. Long, 
a History professor from George Washington University, is leading the academic aspect of the trip.

June 22: Utah Beach

The students and teachers arrived at Utah Beach in a misty rain, clouds, fog and a strong wind -- the same conditions as the troops did on D-Day. Several of the students decided to run from the water up the cliffs to see how the soldiers felt. It was low tide, with wind and rain. One difference is that the troops carried 100 pounds of gear, with the Germans shooting at them. One student ran up in two minutes, while another student walked it and realized he would have not have made it. Talk about putting things in perspective!