Normandy is, hands down, one of the best places in all of Europe. When my family traveled to Europe during the summer of 2012, we stopped in the Normandy region for almost a week. My parents were engaged in Honfleur, France, a small seaside village in Normandy, and we were able to visit the exact location where my Dad proposed to my Mom. Fortunately, Honfleur was spared of bombing and damage during World War II.

Normandy was the infamous site of the D-Day Invasion that occurred 70 years ago yesterday. June 6, 1944 marked a turning point of World War II. Canadian, French, British, and American troops as well as many other countries stormed 5 different beaches on this day, eventually reclaiming the coastline and major cities of France. The western front was opened and the Allied troops continued pressing into mainland Europe. This was the beginning of the end for the Axis powers.

The area of Normandy is such a juxtaposition for me. How could a place so extremely beautiful, so idyllic, and so peaceful have been the site of one of the biggest and deadliest battles of World War II? The Battle of Normandy, which began with the D-Day Invasion, lasted almost 2.5 months in which almost half a million Allied and German troops died. There is something breathtaking and religious about this area. It was hard and difficult for me to imagine hundreds of soldiers scaling the cliffs of Normandy to protect my future freedom. That’s what makes this place so special and so patriotic.