Walking in the Footsteps of the Invasion of Normandy
In June 2019 Molloy College students and faculty traveled to France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy. The first day of history's largest amphibious assault, dubbed "D-Day", allowed allied forces to establish a beachhead. Troops from the United States, Britain, and Canada stormed five beaches on the northwest coast of France. The invasion of Normandy was costly, resulting in 120,000 Allied casualties. It allowed the Allied forces to take control of Western Europe, however, and D-Day marks the turning point of World War II.
The group started their trip in London, and learned about The Blitz, an eight-month German bombing campaign that destroyed one-third of the city. After visiting the Imperial War Museum and Churchill's bunker, the group headed to Portsmouth in Hampshire. This coastal city was a pivotal embarkation point for the D-Day landings. Fittingly, the faculty and students took a ferry to Deauville, France, which followed the same naval route that some 59,000 U.S. soldiers and 200,000 vehicles once traveled.
On this 75th anniversary, the event was commemorated with ceremonies that included a parade of historic military vehicles, paratroopers and the folding of the 9/11 flag. Students met a Master Warrant Officer of the Royal Canadian Artillery who participated in the invasion, and shared his personal story with the group. Students walked along Omaha Beach, Utah Beach and Pointe du Hoc. In honor to the memory of those who served the students and faculty placed flags on the graves of New York natives buried at the American Cemetery who perished in the fray.
On October 2, 2019 student participants will give oral and poster presentations on their takeaways from the trip. All are invited and welcome to attend the event, which takes place from 10-11:30 a.m. in Hagan 339.