Wednesday, June 23, 2010

D-Day Dimanche

Ferme d'Escures, Normandy--- Not so much to report, but I am writing this post on our last night as WWOOFers (at least on this trip), an occasion worth noting. Our time at La Ferme d'Escures has been a bit of a mixed bag. There were days when it seemed like there was no work for us to do, which made us feel guilty about being here. They are clearly struggling financially and at times we felt like more of a burden than a help. But the good experiences outweigh the bad, and in the end we are glad to have been here.

We feel very lucky that our time here overlapped with Veronique's friend Marie-Francoise. She was practicing her English and also very knowledgeable about farming, so we came to rely on her a lot. We also became friends, and because of her interest in history, we all went to visit the D-Day Normandy beaches on Sunday. We started in Arrowmanche at Gold Beach, the British counterpart to the American invasion of Omaha Beach. There was a little museum which mainly focused on the Mulberry projects: temporary, floating harbors built incredibly quickly in the heat of battle. On the beach we walked amongst the remains of the ramps that connected the harbor to the shoreline. It was humbling, but we were shocked at how the information was presented. It seemed to focus almost entirely on the engineering feat of the harbors rather than the actual battles that occurred. The video presentation was as much an instructional guide to building a floating harbor as it was a testimony to the many men who lost their lives. As Americans, we take D-Day extremely seriously. In Ben's words, "It was our finest hour, and it made us the world power that we are today." We didn't get the impression that the Europeans valued the D-Day battles the same way.

Our feelings were only confirmed at our next stop, Omaha Beach. Here, in a very Washington, D.C.-like museum  we were immediately shown inspiring and emotional quotes, photographs of soldiers, statistics about how many fought and died, timelines, artifacts, all arranged in an incredibly interesting and moving way. Here the video (narrated in the quintessential Marlboro man voice) focused on the importance of the the sacrifices the young soldiers made and how crucial their victory was. I joked about the corny voice at first but by the end was moved to tears. The museum lead outside to the American cemetery, where thousands of white marble gravestones stretched out in perfect parallel lines, not unlike troops marching. The pictures speak for themselves. We left the beach feeling that D-Day got its due respect and that we were proud to be Americans.

New photos on the same link as last post, beginning with number 93. Also see our revised calendar at the bottom of the page for an updated, accurate schedule of the time we have left.

1 comment:

  1. what a beautifully written and emotional tribute to our soldiers. it made me want to see Normandy as well. and it's wonderful that you younger folks get the sacrifice and magnitude of what these young people (the same age and younger than both of you) did. yasher koach.