Monday, July 18, 2016

D-Day Beaches

One of the highlights of our trip was the time that we spent with Ben Trumbull and his partner Jaye. They manage a bed and breakfast. You can contact them here.

What made the tour so special were his personal touches. Ben shared stories about the battles fought in his hamlet in addition to taking us to the beaches and cemetery. He even took us to meet Lucian who was 10 years old when an American medic administered care to his ailing brother. Lucian was so moved by the kindness of the American medic that he built a wall to honor  allies that fought and fell in the area during that time. He didn't even know the name of the medic until the D-Day anniversary this year!

You can read Lucian's story here.

I was moved to see him at 82,  leave a floral display at the base of his wall. Then he bought out the flags. He built the holder from the wreckage of an airplane that crashed near his home. He tends his wall every day. To anyone dropping by, he will hand them a document that he wrote about the events of that day.

We went to the beaches. There are houses now between the beach and the cliffs. The Germans had cleared all that and the vegetation before D-Day as part of their fortification of the area. We visited the bunkers that the Germans had built. It is surprising to see so much of it intact.  The areas are open and you are free to walk where ever. I saw one sign that stated to be careful. In the U.S, there would be signage everywhere and you would have to stay on a particular path!

Is is miraculous how our forces were able to penetrate and over take the German defense system. I've read:
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society--Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
(I made a quilt based on this book--see the end of the post)
All the Light We Cannot See--Anthony Doerr
The Nightingale--Kristin Hannah
The Soldier's Wife--Margaret Leroy
(I made a quilt based on this book--see the end of the post)
The All Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion--Fannie Flag (A book club quilt that is on my list of finishes for this quarter!)
D-Day and Band of Brothers--Stephen Ambrose

I've seen:
Private Ryan--The beginning of the film focused on the landing of Omaha Beach and the end of this film focused on the bridge where so many Americans died.
Here is the proof that we were there.

The Imitation Game--A film about Alan Turing who broke the enigma code and is considered the father of our computers.

I have visited Jersey and some day, I will visit Guernsey.

I felt that I had good background about the area; but, Ben really brought the history of the area to life with his photos of then and to look now, it is more similar than not! He also wove stories of some of the men who fought in the area. I can't imagine touring the area without him!









We visited the cemetery and I was surprised to learn that ALL of the 9,347 graves there have been adopted by French families. A family can adopt up to six graves and the family members decorate the graves at least twice a year as well as ensure that the plot is maintained. Many families have adopted the maximum number of graves. I was shocked to learn what a BIG deal this task is and how the next generation of the family has taken on the adoption.

I have heard how the French are ungrateful and non supportive; but, in Normandy, it isn't so. After 72 years, there are many small plaques, monuments, metal and wood crosses that honor a battle and the men who fought there. We were in the area about a week after the D-Day anniversary and there were fresh flowers at many of these memorial settings. Which at first, I thought rather unique because the memorials are in the countryside. After I saw many memorials with fresh flowers, I was awed. Those who gave their lives did matter and they have not been forgotten.

I've gone on much too long so I'll save what staying in the bed and breakfast was like for my next non-quilting post!

This is the quilt that I made that was inspired from reading Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. There were so many characters in the story and so their lives interacted with each other that the basket weave pattern seemed the perfect fit. I quilted it using my own plates and cups as templates! I also made it entirely from scrapes in my stash. They had few materials to work with and were unknitting sweaters to make socks so I felt it fit! I'm also sharing the label!


















This is the little quilt that I made and donated to the Alzheimer's Initiative Research project which was inspired by The Soldier's Wife. The book character loved to garden and had to remove some of her beloved flowers to grow vegetables for food so that she and her daughter didn't starve. It was small enough to fit--lying flat--in a priority size envelope!

It was my first time to quilt the background, then add the appliqué! I also used my machine decorative stitch to add a little more "floweriness" to the piece.

8 comments:

  1. Terry, this was a very interesting post to read. The link to Lucian's story did not work, but I was able to read it at www.dday1994tours.com/blog/

    It must have been a very emotional experience visiting those sights.

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    1. Janice, thanks for letting me know about the link. Perhaps, you can't link to a pdf file on blogger. (That was what I tried.) Yes, it was an emotional experience; but not in a sad or bad way. --Terry

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  2. Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip. Much as I enjoy seeing the quilts also, I can't wait till your next non quilting post.
    Karen Fitzpatrick kfstitcher

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    1. Karen, what a nice comment! Thank you! I rather thought my non quilting posts would be b o r i n g!! I guess, I'd better get working on the next non quilting related blog!--Terry

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  3. What a fun and interesting trip. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Nancy, It was a fun trip. It ended too soon!--Terry

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  4. Terry - thanks for sharing your trip and tour to the D Day Beaches. I imagine you'd come away with different with a different perspective. Barb

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    1. Barb, Seeing those memorials with red, white, blue flowers accented with American Flags (always) sometimes British, French and Canadian flags were there too, truly touched my heart.--Terry

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