The Normandy Experience from the Participants: Walking through Time

Authors: Aditya Sapre and Kaylie O’Connell

The Albert H. Small Normandy Student & Teacher Institute was in full swing yesterday! Teams woke up bright and early to a great day, and after some breakfast, we made our way to the first classroom session. Today we were greeted by Dr. Eric Arnesen to discuss the origins of World War II. Dr. Arnesen added to our previous readings and research and brought new insight, not only to the European Theatre of War, but also the Pacific Theatre. Next, we heard from Dr. Raymond J. Batvinis, former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He brought to light a new topic that many of us had not considered: intelligence, counterintelligence, and deception. From the Double Cross strategies of Garbo to US and Great British code cracking agencies, Magic and Ultra, it was a pleasure to learn all about these crucial aspects of the invasion.

During the afternoon, we ventured to the World War II Memorial on the National Mall, where we were met by Mr. Jim Percoco, part of the Friends of the National World War II Memorial organization. He, along with his organization, put together a tour and a wreath-laying ceremony to honor those who sacrificed their lives during the war. The tour gave us a new insight into the meaning and significance of the memorial itself. After the tour, we laid a wreath and had the opportunity to commemorate our silent hero’s effort by placing a flower on the pillar of his home state. Afterwards, we embarked on a tour of the monuments that line the National Mall, beginning at the Jefferson Memorial. Battling through the hot sun, we trekked on to see the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, and finally finishing off the day with a delicious picnic dinner at the Lincoln Memorial. Although we were a little exhausted, the experience was worth every second, and we are looking forward to another fun-filled day!

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