Sunday, April 18, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010: American Cemetery, Point du Hoc, German Cemetery, the Bayeux Tapestry, and beach combing in Port Winston
(Karannina) Mom and Dad make crepes and the secret sauce! We then head out to the American Cemetery. On the way there Mom buys two baguettes for lunch. Unfortunately for Mom, half is eaten for a snack. :) We wanted to see what a civilian cemetery looked like before we went to the American Cemetery. The church and its oldest grave had not been touched since 1700's. On the way to the Cemetery, we saw a mine sweeper which is attached to a army tank. It's purpose is to detect and explode the land mines so that the foot soldiers can walk past without being hurt or killed. As we arrived at the American Cemetery, we noticed security cameras in the parking lot, high fences, huge metal barriers and a deep ditch (almost like a moat) surrounding the cemetery. Before we could explore the centre, we had to go through security (again. Grrr!). The Canadian Centre had no security cameras, no fences, and no one watching over the grounds. Anyone could come for a visit without the hassle security - thanks CANADA! What does this difference between the two countries suggest? On the American crosses, there were no sayings like the Canadian crosses. The American Cemetery museum was just about the war and not about US at the time of the war (like Canada). At Point du Hoc, the most strategic geographic location on the west coast because you could see for miles. The Germans made bunkers and artillery battery for protecting the coastline. The Americans attempted to capture the area was first to bomb the area by air, followed by missile launches from the boats, and finally their top soldiers, the Rangers, fired grapping hooks to the top of the cliff and began the 40 metre ascent to the fort. When one ranger fell or was shot, another would take his place and keep on climbing until the Germans had no artillery left. They only successfully bombed 2 of the ten bunkers, the missiles only did little damage, and of the 240 Rangers, only 60 were left and successfully captured the strategic fort. The area remains in tact as it was captured 60+ years ago. We ran in and out of the bunkers and the up and down the bombed out areas, perfect for playing hide-and-go-seek and I did a 077 move, pulled a few muscles and bruised my leg. At the German cementery, I discovered that there were 5 crosses representing a group of fallen soldiers, there were no individuals sayings on the plaques, and no security. There were powerful quotes by Albert Schweitzer and Tolstoi about war. At the Bayeux Tapestry museum, I see a 70 metre embroidery of the 1066 Battle of Hastings. Then we saw the dom of Bayeux and its many gargoyles. Then off to Port Winston were Alex and I climbed on one of the old ships that were sunk to make a manmade harbour. We then go home, sort through all our beach combing treasures and eat a seafood supper.