Normandy: Day 1, Pegasus Bridge

“Today was powerful. Starting at Pegasus Bridge where we learned how the British gliders landed perfectly on a narrow strip of land, taking the very first building on continental Europe at 16 minutes past midnight on June 6, 1944 and securing 2 critical bridges for the Allies. Then we went to a surviving German bunker, named correctly “Le Grand Bunker.” Somehow the Allies missed it with their air reconnaissance. 53 Germans manned it and were killed or captured by combined forces. Even if the French wanted to destroy it, they probably couldn’t! After viewing Mulberry B, a temporary port facility based on an idea that Churchill took away from Gallipoli, we toured 4 German batterie along the beautiful Normandy coast. The Germans could fire at ships 12 miles offshore with the cannons they had there. All in all, I think the Germans underestimated the Allies and, while their defenses were impressive, they ended up no match for the more motivated, more ingenious, and more numerous attackers.”

-Melanie Boulet, teacher, New Orleans

“Today was a rather interesting day. It started with a small breakfast in the Hotel`s cafe and to be expected (expected to me having gone to France before) it was a rather light breakfast. Then we boarded the bus and went to Pegasus bridge and that was one of the highlights of the day for me. The memorials that show where the gliders landed were really powerful and after going to the museum and seeing the map and also seeing how off chart everyone else was, it really put into perspective for me how lucky they were to landing so close to their objective.

It was also unbelievable that on top of their good luck for the landing, they had AMAZING luck with capturing and holding the bridge! Pretty insane considering it being a war zone and usually within a war zone meeting your objective is never really successful with the first wave or so.

After that we had lunch at a cafe across the street and then we went to a pier, part of the Atlantic wall, Marie Osmont’s house, and the German batteries.

All and all this was a pretty packed full day but even so we ended early and were given some much needed leisure time in which we were able to really appreciate Bayeux and its fantastic cuisine. What was interesting was when we went to a cafe and got food and our waitress was so helpful, so because she was we gave her one of our French/USA flag pins ( which we were told to give to helpful people) and she wore it right away.

Speaking of which, I left one of my pins at the memorial for the gliders. (God Bless) I felt it was respectful to do so.  The weather is great and so far I am enjoying my time and I thank my teacher and the sponsors for giving me this opportunity.”

-Kalie, student, New Orleans

 

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