The author Sir Max Hastings dedicated his book Overlord, D-Day and the Battle for Normandy to his son Harry “In the hope that beaches will mean no more to him than buckets and spades.” As any parent I too hope the same for my kids. But I can’t answer the question from the title of this post, with just one such sentence, because there were more reasons for taking our kids to Omaha beach:
Omaha beach was the code name of one of the five D-Day beaches on the coast of Normandy. 71 years ago, on the June 6, 1944 it witnessed heavy fighting and tremendous number of causalities. Because of its size, 8 kilometers long and due to the cliffs it was surrounded with, the Allied attack was very difficult. Even though I read a book about it and watched Saving Private Ryan I was still having a hard time connecting what I was seeing – a peaceful, serene looking piece of beach with that dreadful event. And if I had trouble coming to terms with it, how do you explain it to a six year old. But I don’t shy away from a challenge.
1) We used this beach to teach our kids that there are real heroes, not just the ones she watches in Disney movies.
I however stuck to the basics: due to some amazing ordinary people the bad guys were gone.
2) I was always intrigued by history and especially the WWII. I was 12 when I stood at the monument to the Allies who embarked on this daring task from Portsmouth, UK and since then it has been my wish to see where they landed, the place it all started. This visit was a chance to share my interest with my kids in a way that is appropriate for them.
4) Even without the troubled history, which perhaps makes you look at this piece of land differently, it is still a beautiful place that is worth seeing.