Follow the Greatest Generation,
as described by Tom Brokaw, from
Normandy to Bastogne to Berlin.
Tom Brokaw called the World War II generation "The Greatest Generation." Certainly, this generation saved our western civilization from Nazi terror. As President Roosevelt expressed it, the generation had a "Rendezvous with Destiny."
Among the very greatest were the soldiers who landed at Normandy on D-Day in the largest military invasion from the sea in the history of the world. These men fought in Normandy during the summer of 1944 and advanced across France that autumn. The Battle of the Bulge during the bitter cold winter of 1944-45 was the largest battle ever fought by the American Army.
Our first week's journey will follow the path of our soldiers from the landings at Normandy to the Rhine. We'll visit Omaha Beach and Point du Hoc, and Bastogne at the Battle of the Bulge.
Of course the war did not end at the Rhine. Much fighting still remained. Our troops crossed the Rhine in early March and advanced across Germany to V-E day on May 8. Our second week's journey will include the concentration camp at Buchenwald, and Dresden, one of the most heavily bombed cities in Europe. En route to Berlin, we will stop at Torgau on the Elbe, where our soldiers linked up with Russian troops advancing from the East. Our approach will consider both the "worm's eye view" of Ernie Pyle, and the high command environment of General Eisenhower and his staff.
But our trip is more than a retracing of battles. Education sessions are included to enhance our understanding of World War II in Europe. For example, an education session will explore the origins and aftermath of the First World War, leading to the outbreak of World War II.
Sightseeing and other activities are also included. We'll visit Mont-St-Michel in Normandy and a champagne cellar at Reims, capital of France's Champagne Country. Cruises on the Rhine and the Elbe are included.
If the Greatest Generation had a Rendezvous with Destiny, we who have come later owe it to our parents and grandparents to learn about their lives, their times, and their extraordinary contribution to our civilization. We must keep our appointment with history, understanding that we are not mere onlookers. We, too, must be personally involved, taking part in the tasks to preserve our freedom.
Our trip promises to be among our most memorable, and we hope that you will join us.
"...We will always remember. We will always be proud.
We will always be prepared, so we may always be free."
President Ronald Reagan,
Omaha Beach, June 6, 1984