I was blessed as a high schooler to have an opportunity to travel to France with my French class. It remains one of the most memorable trips I have ever taken! The Eiffel Tower was cool. The Louvre was VERY cool, but the day that sticks out the most was our stop in Normandy to visit the American Cemetery and World War II memorial.

Omaha Beach
(Photos: Meghan Zielinski Karosky)

The aesthetics alone are beautiful, with white crosses and stars spaced evenly for acres, but when you stop to think for a second why you are standing there, tears will well up inside you. There are no words to describe the feeling you get standing where they fought, looking down over the beaches where they landed and fell, looking up at the sky once dotted with thousands of men parachuting down. It is not hard to picture that day, and it is truly incredible.

You can still visit the stone structures used by the Germans in their futile defense.

Dozens of high schoolers were brought to reverent silence when stepping onto the site, and that’s saying something!

Photo of postcard (Photo: Meghan Zielinski Karosky)

I’ll never forget those hours walking through the headstones and thinking about what happened on 6/6/44. They truly are the bravest people to have walked the earth, and the entire free world has them to thank for defending our way of life.

How lucky are we that those men existed and accomplished the impossible?