D-Day: A Visit to Normandy

Brenda Robson, Professor of Art, reflects upon her recent visit to Normandy in honor of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.


My husband and I were fortunate enough to visit France during spring break on this year just before the 75th anniversary of the Invasion of Normandy.

On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which, “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe. The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 Soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops. – https://www.army.mil/d-day/

Soldiers lost their lives to “keep Europe and the rest of the world free” as stated on a plaque sent from each of the 50 states’ governors at the American Museum in Caen, France.  It was so emotional to see in person and realize what a debt we owe to those brave young men who stood up against evil and turned the tide of the war. We saw firsthand the Atlantic Wall put up by the Germans, the bunkers that served as their headquarters, and their weapons and equipment that made them almost successful. But nothing compared to learning about and seeing photos of the amazing floating docks that made it possible to drive Allied tanks on the beach from the warships.  There is a statue of President Eisenhower along the highway and people of Normandy and Caen, and all along the coast, absolutely love Americans and what we did for them.  It was truly the most moving place I have ever visited. There was a 360 theater that had actual footage from all points of view that really captured the event and I think all Americans should travel there and see it in person to really appreciate our freedom.