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60th Anniversary Normandy Invasion
Stephen Ambrose Historical Tours ^ | 04/20/2004 | Euro-American Scum

Posted on 04/20/2004 5:17:47 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum

Just wondered if any other Freepers besides myself were going to France in six weeks to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Normandy invasion.

This has been in the works for me for over a year, and as a general goal for the last twenty years. Ever since Ronald Reagan spoke at the American cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach in 1984, really. Part of the motivation is that this will undoubtedly be the last such gathering of American veterans who actually participated in the assault. As such, it will be the last occasion to honor this extraordinary group of Americans and say "Good job. Well done!" before they leave us.

For those of you who have already this trip in previous years, my tour group will be ensconsced in Deauville with the Stephen Ambrose tour group. Looking at a map, and never having been to France, this looks like quite a long haul from the actual invasion beaches. And from what I've heard, the roads leading into and out of the Caen/Carantan area aren't exactly superhighways.

We're being bussed in for the D-Day events. And I can only imagine that there will be some massive traffic tie-ups, not to mention heavy security since this gathering figures to be a terrorist's wet dream.

One promise I made to myself, as this excursion took shape, was to be on Omaha Beach at 0600 on the morning of June 6, 2004, just to try and get a sense of what the wind and tides might have been like on that fateful morning. The rest I know I'll never be able to imagine in my wildest fantasies. Anybody who has any ideas about the best way to accomplish this, coming from Deauville, I'm all ears. Train? Cab? Private tour guide? And yes, I'm prepared to get up at 0300 that morning to get there on time.

It's the least I can do considering how many others put in much greater effort to accomplish so much more.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 101st; 1st; 29th; 4th; 60th; 82nd; airborne; anniversary; beaches; caen; divisions; eisenhower; france; hero; heroes; infantry; juno; normandy; omaha; overlord; rommell; stlo; stmereeglise; sword; travel; trip; utah; veteran; veterans; worldwar2; ww2; wwii

1 posted on 04/20/2004 5:17:50 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum
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To: DCBryan1; NRA2BFree
NRA2BFree, check your Freepmail.
2 posted on 04/20/2004 5:18:56 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum (A poverty-stricken middle class must be a disarmed middle class)
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To: Euro-American Scum

I'd be there, but I've not been well.


3 posted on 04/20/2004 5:24:36 PM PDT by billorites (freepo ergo sum)
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To: Euro-American Scum
.

A Lion in Winter =

Sgt/Major BASIL L. PLUMLEY


-Jumped into Nazi-occupied France the night before the NORMANDY Invasion

-Fought in the last Major Battle of the Korean War on PORK CHOP HILL

-Fought in the 1st Major Battle of the Vietnam War in the IA DRANG Valley


See:

http://www.lzxray.com/guyer_collection.htm
(IA DRANG Photos/Photo Set #3 = PLUMLEY at Pleiku, Vietnam during the Fight at Landing Zone Albany)

.
4 posted on 04/20/2004 5:30:12 PM PDT by ALOHA RONNIE (Vet-Battle of IA DRANG-1965 http://www.LZXRAY.com)
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To: Euro-American Scum
Bon voyage. I've been there three times, starting in Deauville/Trouville sur Mer twice. The coast is awe inspiring; the American Cemetery will move you to tears (assuming you react as I did.)

The mixed feeling of pride and sadness is extraordinary.

At the West end there is a German cemetery, moving in its own way.

The Canadian hallowed ground by Dieppe defies description.

Were I to return to France, I'd go again and again.

Please let us know about your experiences.
5 posted on 04/20/2004 5:43:03 PM PDT by LiberationIT
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To: Euro-American Scum
My wife's father (age 79) served in WW II and landed on Utah Beach. To me, he is a great American.

We are taking him to France in 3 weeks - we're going early as to avoid the large crowds.

He was with the 80th Infantry, 319th Regiment. We are flying into Paris then with rental car, driving out to Caen. This way, we figure, we have wheels and can go where we need to.

We plan to re-trace his route across France (St. Lo, Falaise, Argentan, Orleans, Troyes, Chalons de-Champagne, to Luxenbourg and Luxenbourg City to Bastogne [Battle of the Bulge] and Ardennes area, Bitburg, Germany and back to Paris).

We are very much looking forward to this experience. Oh my, the stories he tells.

We expect to be overwhelmed with emotion the entire trip.

We are in the process of arranging a tour of the Normandy beaches, bunkers and area but, have not had success at finding anything. There are many tours but, we don't want the 'commercial' tour. We're looking for a private tour that is flexible with their schedule.

Enjoy your experience.
6 posted on 04/20/2004 5:48:31 PM PDT by BluSky (Dont make me come down there.)
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To: Euro-American Scum
Thanks for the ping! I'm very happy/excited for you. I know this trip is something you have dreamed about for a long time. I'm sure you'll have a great time. How could you miss. ;-)

Tell all the Veterans that I said "Thank you, for giving us all the Freedom that we enjoy today and for serving in our Military." A big thanks to you for serving in our Military too. God Bless ALL the Veterans and ALL of our active soldiers.

We'll be expecting to see some pictures when you get back. ;-) You can bring me something too. A while flag. I want my very own French Surrender Flag. LOL! I'm sure they have a lot of them.

7 posted on 04/20/2004 6:26:40 PM PDT by NRA2BFree (--->Islam and Democrats: equally dangerous to Americans<---)
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To: Euro-American Scum
I'm sure you'll have a memorable trip. I've been three times, years ago,late 60's, when I was stationed in Spain....what was most remarkable to me was great love that the locals, who at the time, most lived through the occupation and the invasion, had for les americains
8 posted on 04/20/2004 6:34:18 PM PDT by ken5050 (Ann Coulter needs to have children ASAP to propagate her genes.....any volunteers?)
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To: Euro-American Scum
Best way to get there from Deauville? Tour bus and/or rental car. I don't think you'll get a car anywhere near the important sites on an anniversary, especially one with a round number. Thus, you'll drive as close as you can and then walk or take a shuttle bus. I've never 'been' on an anniversary, but I gotta believe they'll have some means of moving people up and down the coast.

A 'long' distance tour bus, direct from Deauville or Caen or Le Havre will have an itinerary and take you from site to site on a schedule. If that suits your temperment, fine. I'm allergic to crowds and I personally hate being led about on schedule. I'd hate it.

On the other hand, I would never go on an occasion like this. My visit was in the first week of October, 1999. Very small crowds (some hotels closed outright).

As for the E46 (running from Bayeux up the cotentin peninsula to St. Mere Eglise--must see), it is four lane limited access, like an interstate, but not as fast as the A-14 or A-15.

On that road, you'll pass "Isigny-sur-Mer," ancestral home of Walt Disney (Disney is actually D'Isigny [say 'deez-NYEE'). I have no way to know where his homestead is, but his family was from that town, where a major dairy processes milk for the region.

I'm working from memory, so your mileage may vary.

More specific questions? Ask away.
9 posted on 04/20/2004 6:53:42 PM PDT by Petronski (I'm not always cranky.)
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To: Petronski; NRA2BFree
A 'long' distance tour bus, direct from Deauville or Caen or Le Havre will have an itinerary and take you from site to site on a schedule. If that suits your temperment, fine. I'm allergic to crowds and I personally hate being led about on schedule. I'd hate it.

There were a couple of factors that led to my going now. Like you, I hate the idea of the choreography. But I had to temper that with the desire to participate in the last ceremony honoring the Americans who crossed the beaches, scaled the cliffs, and parachuted in behind enemy lines. That couldn't be accomplished at any other time.

Then there is a family connection to the campaign as well. My father (501st PIR, 101st Airborne Div.) and uncle (51st AIB, 4th Armored Div.) were also heavily involved. And while my dad has been gone for many years, my uncle has been after me to get a picture of one of his childhood friends killed on D-Day and buried in the American cemetery there. Again, this could wait, but for the fact that my uncle is 84 and in failing health.

I'm hoping the avoid the problem that happens with big crowds -- namely that the whole thing degenerates into just another tourist trap. Especially when it's so much more than that. I've never seen this so starkly contrasted as in DC. For some reason, the Lincoln Memorial and -- of all places -- the Kennedy grave are little more than bus stops on the tour. But the Tomb of the Unknowns and the Vietnam Memorial seem to engender an inherent dignity and respect that the others don't. And that's amazing considering the close proximity they are to each other. Hopefully I'll be able to avoid this phenomenon in Normandy. But it's an imperfect world, so I'll take what comes.

All I ask is to get down on that beach at 0600 on 6 June. Hopefully I'll beat the crowds. And that will be enough.

10 posted on 04/20/2004 10:31:55 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum (A poverty-stricken middle class must be a disarmed middle class)
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To: LiberationIT
The coast is awe inspiring; the American Cemetery will move you to tears (assuming you react as I did.)

Just reading and hearing about it moves me to tears.

11 posted on 04/20/2004 10:37:55 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum (A poverty-stricken middle class must be a disarmed middle class)
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To: BluSky
We plan to re-trace his route across France (St. Lo, Falaise, Argentan, Orleans, Troyes, Chalons de-Champagne, to Luxenbourg and Luxenbourg City to Bastogne [Battle of the Bulge] and Ardennes area, Bitburg, Germany and back to Paris). We are very much looking forward to this experience. Oh my, the stories he tells.

Sounds like the path of Patton's Third Army. And you're fortunate he opened up to you. My father never said a word to anyone about anything, except to grumble that the only good German was a dead German. He never got over hating them, right to the end.

We expect to be overwhelmed with emotion the entire trip.

As do I.

12 posted on 04/20/2004 10:41:10 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum (A poverty-stricken middle class must be a disarmed middle class)
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To: NRA2BFree
You can bring me something too. A while flag. I want my very own French Surrender Flag. LOL! I'm sure they have a lot of them.

I told you about the commemorative parachute jump they're having the afternoon of June 6. I'm sure the French will be completely prepared for it, white flag and all.

13 posted on 04/20/2004 10:42:38 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum (A poverty-stricken middle class must be a disarmed middle class)
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To: Euro-American Scum
My brother & sisters & I will be accompanying my uncle and some of his wife's family, we'll be there June 1 - June 9. At 22, my uncle was the 'old man' in his unit. This will indeed be the last hoorah for many of these vets.
14 posted on 04/20/2004 10:45:02 PM PDT by Ready4Freddy (Veni Vidi Velcro)
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To: ALOHA RONNIE
I got to tour USS LST-325 last summer. It was a nice to chance to reflect al little of what it may have been to be there.
15 posted on 04/20/2004 10:48:23 PM PDT by oyez (Fortune favors the bold.)
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To: nutmeg
bump
16 posted on 04/20/2004 10:49:54 PM PDT by nutmeg (Why vote for Bush? Imagine Commander in Chief John Fin al-Qerry)
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To: Euro-American Scum
BTW, my uncle was 3rd Armored Div (Spearhead). They landed 6/24/44, and fought through the hedgerows that June & July. His unit was caught in a night firefight with Panzers outside of Orleans Aug 14 night - Aug 15 AM. He was the only survivor, lost his right arm.
17 posted on 04/20/2004 10:53:19 PM PDT by Ready4Freddy (Veni Vidi Velcro)
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To: Ready4Freddy
BTW, my uncle was 3rd Armored Div (Spearhead). They landed 6/24/44, and fought through the hedgerows that June & July. His unit was caught in a night firefight with Panzers outside of Orleans Aug 14 night - Aug 15 AM. He was the only survivor, lost his right arm.

They really were an extraordinaly generation of Americans.

18 posted on 04/20/2004 11:31:30 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum (A poverty-stricken middle class must be a disarmed middle class)
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To: Euro-American Scum
He was not with Patton's 3rd Army but, they crossed paths several times according to him.

He has only recently opened up to us and is truly a changed man for doing so. We have heard many times, as in your situation with your father, many WW II vets kept it bottled up and refused to talk about their experiences.

He expressed interest in 'closing the loop', as he said, and wished to return to France and re-trace many of the places he had been and fought.

He knew of other vets that are now departed, that expressed interest in going over to Europe (ETO) and Normandy but never did. They have all expressed regret for not going. My father in-law did not want that to happen to him.

We feel blessed that we will be able to make this trip happen.

He does tell the story of Patton's explicit request to encircle a very large contingent of German soldiers at Falaise that would have shortened the war by 6 - 9 months.

Montgomery could not get his units in place in time and this now known as the Falaise gap. Patton wanted to close this gap, capture/destroy the German army where estimates run as high as 800,000 Germans. Instead, the Germans were able to retreat through the gap like a bottleneck and regroup for later battles. Could have saved thousands of American soldiers lives.

He is recounting many of these scenes to us and frequently becomes overwhelmed with emotion, which is a good thing.

Like I said, we very much look forward to this experience and it's not only the experience at stake here it's a person's life and soul that is healing.
19 posted on 04/21/2004 6:54:29 AM PDT by BluSky (Dont make me come down there.)
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To: BluSky
He does tell the story of Patton's explicit request to encircle a very large contingent of German soldiers at Falaise that would have shortened the war by 6 - 9 months.

The Falaise gap was infamous. Montgomery was nothing less than deliberate in everything he did from El Alamein onward. Eisenhower should have realized this when he (Montgomery) came to him with the Market-Garden plan a few months later. It was folly to put an operation requiring speed, daring and boldness in the hands of a commander who exhibited none of those qualities.

20 posted on 04/21/2004 9:10:59 AM PDT by Euro-American Scum (A poverty-stricken middle class must be a disarmed middle class)
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To: Euro-American Scum
So very true!
21 posted on 04/21/2004 10:19:51 AM PDT by BluSky (Dont make me come down there.)
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To: Euro-American Scum
Wish I could. My mother has been there. Her brother died on D-Day. He was in the Air Force, and his plane went down over the English channel.
22 posted on 04/21/2004 10:23:53 AM PDT by .38sw
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To: Euro-American Scum
I am very envious. We whizzed right past Normandy on the Euro Train on our way to Paris last summer, but it didn't stop. I would LOVE to be there for this anniversary. Please give our heartfelt thanks to every veteran you encounter. We would all be there with you if we could.
TRS
23 posted on 04/21/2004 2:16:47 PM PDT by The Right Stuff
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To: The Right Stuff
Please give our heartfelt thanks to every veteran you encounter. We would all be there with you if we could.

Will do.

24 posted on 04/21/2004 2:23:41 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum (A poverty-stricken middle class must be a disarmed middle class)
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To: Euro-American Scum; BluSky
A few links I've found re: events in Normandy for the 60th Anniversary:

Official Site

VFW Article w/ info

BluSky, the Official Site lists many events prior to June 4-7, may be of interest to you.

My Uncle, his wife, and a few friends are staying in Caen. My sisters, niece & I are staying at a B&B in Villerville, ~40 miles away. Gonna be crowded, prolly horrible traffic up & down the Normandy coast, but as Euro-American Scum said, I would not miss this (probable) last chance to attend an Anniversary w/ my uncle for the world.

He went back for the first time 2 years ago, went to London first to look up old friends he made while stationed there for 2 years before the invasion. I asked him if he was going to take the train via the Chunnel, he replied "No, I want to take a boat, like the last time".

25 posted on 04/23/2004 2:19:06 PM PDT by Ready4Freddy (Veni Vidi Velcro)
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To: Euro-American Scum
Thanks for your participation in keeping their memory alive. Visit Utah beach if you can and send a note about your impressions of the place. My father went ashore there the morning of D-Day, second wave of infantry. He would never talk to me about it except to say that what he remembered seeing was "debris and bodies". I understand from reading that the beaches there weren't as "hot" as at Omaha, but it wasn't a walk in the park, either. I should make the trip myself but don't know if I'll ever be able to. But I'll do what I can to honor my father's memory, as well as that of those who served there and paid the price for freedom and victory.
26 posted on 04/23/2004 2:29:45 PM PDT by chimera
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To: Euro-American Scum
Indeed they were & are, Euro-American Scum. At 22, my Uncle Bill was the 'old man' in his unit.
27 posted on 04/23/2004 2:33:49 PM PDT by Ready4Freddy (Veni Vidi Velcro)
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To: chimera; NRA2BFree
Thanks for your participation in keeping their memory alive. Visit Utah beach if you can and send a note about your impressions of the place.

The actual anniversary day -- June 6 -- will probably be so choked with visitors as to make free roaming impossible. That's why we've got seven days scheduled in the Normandy area.

One of my personal "must see: areas is Brecourt Manor -- where Easy Company, 506th PIR assaulted the German artillery garrison firing on Utah Beach. Time permitting, I'll get there (Utah).

Ste. Mere-Eglise is another priority site, as is Carentan, Point de Hoc, Omaha, the American cemetery, Pegasus Bridge. Too much to see in too short a time. But I don't figure to make it back there anytime soon, so this figures to be it.

28 posted on 04/23/2004 5:20:58 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum (A poverty-stricken middle class must be a disarmed middle class)
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To: Ready4Freddy; NRA2BFree
Indeed they were & are, Euro-American Scum. At 22, my Uncle Bill was the 'old man' in his unit.

Consider this: The men who crossed those beaches -- and not just in Normandy but all over Europe and everywhere in the Pacific from Guadalcanal to Okinawa -- were the children of the Depression.

Think about that. As children they were, in all probability dirt poor, poorly clothed, marginally educated (not all, but many), undernourished and underfed. And yet, as adults, they weathered a firestorm of military might and beat it back everywhere they encountered the enemy. And there's no way they could have accomplished this without being chosen by God and empowered by His Holy Spirit.

I am so proud of my father's generation, and all the men who served in it, I just can't tell you.

29 posted on 04/23/2004 5:27:47 PM PDT by Euro-American Scum (A poverty-stricken middle class must be a disarmed middle class)
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