On June 6th, 1944, Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy and changed the course of World War II. Although 75 years have passed from this monumental day, people all over the world continue to honor the veterans who made this world a better place. EF has partnered with two organizations that are dedicated to preserving the formidable spirit of the Allied forces. Read on to find out more.
The Utah Beach Museum
Located on the very beach where the first American troops landed on D-Day, the Utah Beach Museum is an absolute must-see when traveling through France.
Michel de Vallavieille, a French citizen who was injured during D-Day, created the museum to express his gratitude for the sacrifices made by the Allied soldiers. Opened in 1962, the museum contains numerous exhibits including those focused on the German defenses, the Allied strategy, and D-Day itself.
Since its opening, the museum has gone through numerous renovations. In 2011, the museum reopened with 23,000 square feet of gallery space. The gallery now houses numerous World War II relics including military vehicles, landing crafts, and weaponry. Not only does the museum have an original “Higgins Boat” landing craft, but it also has one of the six remaining B26 bomber planes.
Veterans Back to Normandie
When Valerie Gautier Cardin was fourteen years old, she helped Bill Sullivan, a WWII veteran, reunite with the French family who had helped him during the war. This moment motivated Valerie, a resident of Creances, France, to dedicate much of her time and energy to helping World War II veterans travel back to Normandy.
In 2012, Valerie founded Veterans Back to Normandie (Retour des vétérans en Normandie), a non-profit organization aimed at helping World War II veterans. Along with raising funds for air travel, the organization also arranges free housing and meals for veterans.
As of 2016, Veterans Back to Normandie has helped nearly 30 veterans return to Normandy. Valerie, who works in a middle school, continues to champion this effort with students as well as the numerous volunteers who also believe in this rewarding cause.
EF is proud to partner with both organizations and the work they do to keep the spirit of D-Day alive.
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