Learning About D-Day

Monday, June 9, 2014

This past Friday (June 6) was the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

My mother’s youngest brother landed with the troops on D-Day and survived, although he never talked about it. For those who went through it, it must have been very hard to live with and very hard to forget.

For the rest of us, it’s too easy to forget. That’s why we need reminders like the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, where I took the picture at the top of this post. The dioramic sculpture shows the troops landing on Omaha Beach. The boxy thing in the rear represents a landing craft. Two men have already made it safely to the beach (or at least safely for now), while the one on the right is still in the water and the one on the left is already dead.

In these days of the Internet, it’s easy to learn about D-Day or any other historical event without leaving home. Books are good teachers, too, but armchair learning isn't the best type.

Museums and memorials are better teachers. Besides visiting the D-Day memorial in Bedford, I also learned about D-Day at the World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana.

As for the European museums, I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen any of them. At least one was around when I was in Europe as a child, but my father didn’t believe in spending money if he could avoid it.

He did love history, though, so we probably visited the beaches of Normandy. Unfortunately, I don't remember them.

Now that I’m an adult, I would like to go to Normandy and see the places where the D-Day invasion occurred. I’d also like to visit the D-Day museums in Arromanches, France, and Portsmouth, England.

Because that's the best way to learn history.

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