beautiful and sobering normandy


ian’s sister sarah is a high school history teacher, and is passionate about history. there’s three places she has dreamed of visiting most of her life: pearl harbor, the imperial war museum in london, and the beaches of normandy. a few years ago, ian and sarah took a trip together to hawaii and checked pearl harbor off the list. and last month, sarah and her husband came to london, and then we all traveled together to northern france … so check! and check!

normandy has never really been on my list of places that i pine to see in europe. frankly, i should be more interested and invested in history than i am – i genuinely enjoy learning about it, but i don’t really seek that learning out often. i’m so glad that sarah and michael’s visit encouraged us to visit this incredibly significant place. it was really cool to go to normandy with someone who is so excited and knowledgable about the events that happened there. i learned a lot, and i really believe that learning makes me a better human being.

we spent two and a half days visiting beaches, museums, historical markers, and cemeteries … and we took a little side trip to see mont saint-michel (which i actually have been pining to see, for over a decade! – pictures from there coming in the next post). the weather that weekend in the north of france was crazy – lots of rain and wind. i guess it was kind of appropriately atmospheric – especially considering the wild weather back on 6 june 1944. it was really great to be with sarah and michael, and a really special experience to visit normandy.

here’s some photos from our quick trip across the english channel!

^^ love these two. they just got married right after moses was born. it’s been so fun to get to know michael. ^^
^^ family photo on omaha beach. i loved this sculpture memorial. so surreal to be there and think about all that happened there. ^^
^^ teaching our little mo that freedom isn’t free at the american cemetery, which is set on the hill just above omaha beach. ^^
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^^ pointe du hoc, the highest point in the area – captured by allied forces after soldiers scaled the cliffs. ^^
^^ from inside a bunker near pointe du hoc. it was pretty neat to see what was left (and what wasn’t) of german fortifications. ^^
^^ yeah, those giant divots in the earth are not naturally occurring… ^^
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^^ we saw seriously about five different rainbows in one day! it seemed pretty fitting for this colourful ray of hope to shine above ohama beach. ^^
^^ the view from the american cemetery. we actually visited there twice. it was my favourite spot. ^^
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^^ another rainbow over omaha beach, which showed up a couple hours after the one pictured above! we saw 3-4 more from the car. ^^
^^ names of those missing in battle – this picture shows maybe 1/20th of the display. so sobering. ^^
^^ on gold beach at sunset after seeing the arromanches 360 film. ^^
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^^ can you spot the paratrooper dummy hanging from the church tower? an american paratrooper landed in that very spot on d-day, pretended to be dead but was eventually taken prisioner by the germans, and later escaped and rejoined his division. quite a crazy story! ^^
^^ moses was such a champ throughout this trip. he loved walking around the utah beach landing museum. ^^
^^ and hanging out with his new bff michael at the apartments we stayed in! ^^

so glad we had this historical adventure with sarah and michael!


  1. Michael and I were in the same Master's degree program together. Small world! He is such a nice guy. Beautiful pictures, Charity!

  2. You should go to Verdun, France and see the World War I museum/ossuary there. Read up on it in Wikipedia, and you'll definitely want to go! Over a million men died there.

  3. Beautiful pictures! Definitely a place I want to visit. Have you seen this music video from One Voice Children's Choir? They filmed on the beach at Normandy.


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