Thursday, October 7, 2010
October 7th--“Down the road we go…”
Today served as one of our two long travel days. This morning we made a brief visit to Gold Beach, the primary British landing site on D-Day. This is the beach where the British, in anticipation of D-Day, constructed an artificial harbor. The idea was Winston Churchill’s as he sat in his bathtub playing with a paper boat and realized that a barrier reduces the effect of waves.
We left lower Normandy and began our eight hour journey across France with our desire to be in Bastogne, Belgium by nightfall. At one of the rest stops along the way, Mr. Ralph Manley stepped across the road and uprooted a sugar beet plant in order to educate us about the use of this unfamiliar plant. On the bus we watched three episodes of HBO’s “Band of Brothers” series. This movie portrayed the events that occurred at Bastogne where several of our veterans braved the harsh winter climate in December, 1944 in the Ardennes forest region.
As the miles passed, we could not help but notice the beautiful landscape offered by northern France and Belgium. Rolling hills, golden forests, and spotted cows reminded us of home in the Ozarks. We arrived in Bastogne tired from the day’s ride, but safe. Our driver, Alaine, is just great at maneuvering a huge tour bus through the narrow streets of Europe. At 8 pm, we were served a scrumptious Belgian dinner at the hotel café and shared an evening of music with Swiss military officers who just arrived from a visit at Waterloo and who are staying at the hotel.
Our long journey provided ample opportunity to reflect on our trip so far. Even though it was only last Saturday that we left the USA, it seems like a lifetime ago. We have experienced so many things that most Americans never even dream of in a lifetime. We have increased our sense of pride and patriotism with each passing day. We remain grateful for this opportunity and look forward to sharing our experiences upon our return home.
Charlie Greene and Charlotte Guittar