After our horrendous experience with Harriett and 5 days later loosing Monty the 20+ year old dog I found at the side of the road our heads really dropped. We also had a run of folk coming into the rentals that really shouldn’t have tried to ‘do’ Normandy in a day and a half we felt quite ineffective and at a very low ebb…then the day arrived for Jan to bring her Dad back to Utah Beach…90 in July a WW2 D Day +2 veteran…we weren’t sure what to expect but we went down to the station to collect them and this tall upright gentleman got off the train with a lady around the same age as me, it was them. Sam stood on the platform for a minute or two and then said ‘is that the road to Coutances & the harbour is down there…right?’. Absolutely spot on …I knew then we were in for an emotional time…he hasn’t been here for 69 years – born in Utah State & landed on Utah Beach aged 22.
We were delighted to make the acquaintance of Sam & Jan – that 1st afternoon we sat and had a cup of English tea along with a good chat we soon realized that he really did know his stuff and remembered well plus is quite remarkable for his age!
So DAY ONE…off we went to Utah Beach Museum – we had rung ahead to the Director Ingrid that we were bringing a veteran – so when we got there the red carpet was out! A guide was all organized for us Rodolphe who was just super… not a dry eye in the house when Sam saw the beach for the 1st, or should I say 2nd time…the Rodolphe took him to view a map of the actual invasion…after we were done looking at everything and admiring the museum (which is really fantastic) Ingrid came to see us and presented Sam with a medal and certificate, then the Mayor of Sainte Marie du Mont, the town of Utah Beach got involved…it was truly wonderful then folk who were visiting the museum realized Sam was a veteran and started to come up to shake his hand…Jan his daughter by this time was awash with tears!