This Veteran’s day weekend (13/11/2011) I made my first visit to the beaches of Normandy. I am not a patriotic person normally but i have to say that it was a very humbling experience. Words escape me to explain the beauty and sadness that the history of this place inspired in me.
It is really just a stretch of wide beach with a rugged monument of steel resembling the top of a submarine and another polished steel statue like knives shooting out from the sand. But the moving sight for me was the allied flags waving side by side. It was very cold so it was a shame that we didn’t spend much time there as we were just stoping through to eat some super. We enjoyed mussels and French fries at a cute restaurant with a nice view of the beach that is open everyday of the week so if you get the chance it is where I’d recommend going.
In Paris there is a constant reminder of the scars of war with plaques and statues commemorating victims of the occupation, the deportations and “les combatants de l’ombre”; the resistant movements and those who protected families in hiding. But none of these were so moving as this simple seaside scene and what it represented: a sigh of relief but also the beginning of the sad realization of the true impact that hate can have on so many countries and so many people.
I have been told that mankind is destined to repeat history. But for the sake of our future I hope only that we will continue to remember what an impact our choices have on our fellows and that we also have the choice to learn from our errors.