FRANCE: June 4 - July 7, three weeks of class in Rouen, and field trip to Caen, Mont St. Michel, Rochecotte, and Paris
Faculty: Dr. Mehrdad Negahban, Engineering Mechanics
At the Normandy Coast:
The next beach we went to was Gold Beach and more specifically Arromanches-les-Bains, where the British built the mulberry harbor. While we were there we went to a 360 degree movie. It had outtakes from video during the war mixed in with video of the sites today. It was really moving, and I can't imagine going through what the soldier did who stormed the beaches of Normandy. It made me really thankful for the brave people who stormed the beaches of Normandy.
Next we went to Omaha Beach. We all walked down to the beach. It was a long walk. I couldn't even complain because I was walking on a cleared path, but the soldiers would have had to go through the dense shrubbery that surrounded the path. Omaha Beach is also home to the American Cemetary for WWII. The cemetary was beautiful with the monuments that had been erected. I was taken back by the number of crosses and Stars of David that mark the grave plots. I wish I would have had more time to read the memorials and pay respect for the soldiers who gave their lives for our the Allied countries.
The most moving site of all was Pointe du Hoc. This is where Rudders Rangers attacked. The steep cliffs of the site made it very difficult and dangerous to attack. Nevertheless, it was necessary to ensure the Germans could not fire from this site and deter the attacks planned for the other beaches. Unlike the other beaches, at Pointe du Hoc it was obvious that a battle had taken place. There were craters from bombs all over the place. There was hardly any area that was flat becuase of the large number of craters. In addition, most of the pill boxes were blown open with rebar twisted in every direction and chunks of concrete strewn about everywhere.
- Shannon Killion, grad student, Environmental Engineering