This is how history should be experienced

“The events experienced in Normandy have been incredible! Leading up to the trip, I read numerous books related to the Allied invasion of France. Every day in Normandy brings all of the information together in a way that couldn’t’ t have happened anywhere else. On Sunday, June 24th we visited many sights that provided even more connections to content studied before our arrival in France.

There were two sights today that allowed me to make connections to the readings as well as my own experiences. One of our stops was near the area where General Leslie J. McNair was killed.  I live a block away form Ft. McNair in Washington, DC. I remember reading about where he died but learning in more detail about his death and visiting the area where he was killed was powerful. Our next stop was La Fiere Bridge, which demonstrated the importance of one single structure to the entire invasion. When we first approached the bridge, I didn’t understand how a small, two lane bridge could be such a major objective of the war. As Dr. Long explained the events of that day, I realized that the soldiers defending the Merderet River crossing were responsible for the town of Ste. Mere Eglise from being over run which would have led to the Germans controlling the immediate area. This bridge was just one of many places that were pivotal to the entire invasion.

The visit to the hedgerows also proved very meaningful. As the rain came down steadily, students and teachers stepped off of the bus to see an example of the obstacle that we had all been reading about for months. The walk down the muddy path to a clearing felt like a walk back in time. Once we arrived at the clearing, Dr. Long began to explain the importance of the hedgerows and the history behind them. The weather provided a powerful backdrop to Dr. Long’s detailed description of some of the fiercest fighting in the entire war. Once he was finished, some returned to the bus to get warm while others continued to explore the hedgerows attempting to get a sense of what soldiers felt while attempting to gain an edge in this area 68 years ago. This visit was the epitome of the entire trip. There is no substitute for visiting a place where history occurred and making a connection with the individuals that were a part of the event. This is how history should be experienced.”

— Julian Hipkins, teacher, Washington, D.C.

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1 Comment

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One response to “This is how history should be experienced

  1. I am enjoying reading about the experiences of the teachers and students on the Normandy program. Thank you for sharing your reflections on the experiences!

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