We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Mrs. BD is planning a trip to Normandy with her Dad. She has already signed up a well-respected Brit guide who will drive them all around.
Flight to Paris, train to Normandy, guide pick-up at train and ride to their (first floor) rooms at a chateau. The old guy is not great with stairs anymore but what he lacks in agility he makes up with Rugged Determination. 7-day trip, with no doubt great food.
My father-in-law has been a history buff all his life. Always had regrets that he was far too young to get into the Army in WW2. His much elder brother was in the third wave at Omaha Beach, while another brother was stationed at the Bermuda air station for the entire war. Sheesh. Of course, I he had to take crap about that.
The old guy always wanted to tour Normandy, but his Mrs. would never OK it although they did travel everywhere on the planet - entire USA and Canada, Japan, Australia, China, Thailand, Scandinavia, Sicily, all of Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Hawaii, Mexico, Bolivia, India - you name it. Always up for adventure into their 80s.
Besides it having been a final item on his bucket list, Mrs. BD felt it would inspire him to get into better shape after his quadruple bypass, multiple heart attacks, botched back surgeries, protsate cancer, and other medical misadventures not to mention arthiritis, etc. The anticipation has gotten him out walking distances again, and thus far has managed to lose 30 lbs. by eating rationally on my advice. After his PT he gets to his gym every day.
An American story: Second-generation Irish. Shanty Irish. Reluctant HS graduate, worked since age 8 (at first, in bowling alleys as a pin boy), later as A/C repair and the like until got onto the NYPD. Yes, he can be a pretty tough SOB when needed. I have his retired billy club but never used it on my kids. When he got that pension, became an entrepreneur with his Mrs and they built a very successful business together (she had been working on it for years already). They sold it in their 70s with a nice profit.
I do love this youthful old fellow. Love his stories about taking his baby sister to the outhouse in snowstorms in Jersey City, and their summers working on a farm in Spring Lake (NJ). No father (died young), 5 kids, wonderful but poor childhood (His baby sis slept in a dresser drawer), and wonderful successful and adventurous life. And, being Irish, a brilliant and entertaining story-teller so he has always been socially popular. Very much so - he is a fun guy and a great companion. When he was younger, we would go for 10-mile runs and he would try to tell me jokes the whole way while I would try to point out the birds.
I am so pleased with Mrs. BD's plan with him. I am not going. I want them to have this trip together. I think it will be his last international trip. His passport is up to date. God bless him, he still loves chances to get into NYC to see his old haunts and to stop into Irish pubs for a beer or two even if he needs a cane. Some people are just blessed with joie de vivre. Can't keep a good man down.
I worked in Germany in the early 1980s and went to see the American cemetery at Luxembourg. After WW2 all the small American graveyards in Germany were consolidated here. There is no American graveyard in Germany. The place is really awe inspiring. General Patton's grave is in front. He is still leading the troops in death.
Our trip was about five years ago. Recommend going 'on your own' rather than with a tour ….you get much more of a sense of things. Inspiring and overwhelming. Get a simple history book and read about what happened on each of the different beachfronts while seeing them. Ate lunch in a small town nearby in a run of the mill Mom and Pop café …..75+ years after, the owners thanked us as Americans for having done what we did. Impressive indeed - a different snapshot of France.