D-Day is widely regarded as the turning point of WW2, when an ingenious and brave offensive from the allied forces led to regaining of strategic strongholds on the northern French coast in Normandy. This heralded the fight back further into France and marked the turning point of the war. 6th June 2014 marked exactly 70 years since D-Day started, in 1944, so just how has this important day been marked?
The province where D-Day took place is Normandy on the northern French coast and this is where the focus of the commemorations and festivities have taken place to date and will continue to take place. On the 6th June, many Allied Heads of State stood together in Normandy to mark the events, including David Cameron, the Queen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Over 2,000 surviving D-Day veterans have also been part of the commemorations. Events have taken place on the D-Day landing beaches of Normandy including Gold Beach, Omaha Beach and Sword Beach. The town of Bayeux, home of the Bayeux Tapestry has also held a host of events to mark the events. Events have included official ceremonies, fly-pasts of WW2 airplanes including Lancaster Bombers, re-enactment of the landing with various landing craft onto the Normandy beaches, musical festivals and many other powerful ceremonies across Normandy.
The events to date have had a powerful but contrasting mix of emotions, from the obvious sombre and reflective periods, remembering the horrific D-Day and those lost. But many have also commented on the joyous and ‘festival’ like atmosphere that has also been present at points, celebrating the bravery of those who took part in D-Day and the turning point in defeat of the Nazi army.
Official commemorations continue until August. However, Normandy has for a long time been one of Adaptable Travel’s most popular school trip destinations, and will continue to offer an important educational purpose for our school groups long into the future. Seeing recent commemorative events on TV can only give a sense of what Normandy has to offer for student groups. In actually visiting the landing beaches and sites of D-Day, students cannot fail to be captivated and moved by the events that took place on D-Day. A specialist guide from Adaptable Travel can also add to the whole school trip experience, bringing Normandy to life and putting D-Day into greater context for your students.
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