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Visiting Normandy Over Memorial Day

May 24, 2017, 10:03 AM

For military families, Memorial Day often means finding a special way to honor those who died in service to our nation.

The beaches of Normandy (Utah, Gold, Juno, Sword, and Omaha) were the scene of the largest amphibious invasion in history. This invasion led to the eventual demise of Hitler and the Nazis, but came at a very high price as thousands of American and Allied service members perished during the invasion. 

Many service members and military families feel drawn to visit the beaches of Normandy on the northern coast of France. This area is rich in military history including an American military cemetery, many monuments, and a variety of museums. Though you can read about it in a book or watch a movie about the bravery of those who landed on the beaches on D-Day, nothing is a substitute for putting your feet on the ground in Normandy.

Normandy Cliffs Blog

If you’re serious about planning a Normandy trip, we recommend learning more about the monuments and museums that have been erected by the American Battle Monuments Commission. This organization has the great task of guarding America’s overseas cemeteries and memorials and they do a fantastic job!

Normandy Blog IG

Rick Steves also provides wonderful insight into a trip to Normandy. He provides information on the best way to get to the area and how to structure your trip.

If this area is on your “must-see” list, here are a few tips:

  1. Don’t rush your trip. The entire Normandy experience, for service members and military families, can be very emotional. Take your time looking through the museums and walking the beaches.
  2. Stay in a central location so that you can easily access multiple military sites.
  3. Schedule your visit to the Normandy American Cemetery later in the day so you can view the flag being lowered and retired for the day. This is an impactful time to be at the cemetery and you won’t regret it.
  4. Eat at a local restaurant and try out your French vocabulary. Many French citizens in this area are still very thankful for all that America did for them during World War II and they often share interesting stories that you won’t read about in a book or museum.
  5. Plan a few extra days to explore non-military sites in the area, including Mont St. Michel and the Bayeux Tapestry. This part of France is beautiful and you’ll enjoy your time exploring the French countryside.
Mont St Michel Blog

If you can’t make it overseas, check back later this week as we focus on visiting Veteran cemeteries in the United States. 

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