War Stories: The Boys of Normandy

Since I last posted, our family has been through the end of the school year, a career change, an international move, a couple of epic trips, two seasonal wardrobe changes, and more than one bottle of wine.

Over the last year, there has been a significant switch in the tone of our photo shoots, as we’ve really embraced our parental role of Storytellers. I guess that’s what we’ve always done to some degree, but we’ve finally done the soul-searching and put a name on it, and made the transition as the kids began to mature from fairy stories to history and legend (and also geekdom, because we like to win at parenting). This Storyteller job has become paramount to mentoring our children, whether or not there are costumes and camera involved, because it’s how we’ve personally found a way to explain the tales of every generation, and how we introduce them to themes of sacrifice and struggle and even sometimes the less noble realities of betrayal and failure. I think I can say this is the first full year we’ve made this a really conscious, overarching goal in everything we do, whether that’s choosing a bedtime story, having a “date” with the kids, or planning a family vacation (and, of course, photo shoots).

To that end, we went to Normandy, France for the 72nd anniversary of the D-Day landings this summer. I can honestly say we have given our children few experiences that equal that full-sensory trip: seeing the beaches, cliffs, and hedgerows; wearing carefully assembled costumes and props, and meeting WWII veterans and hearing their stories. It is obvious that the French have not forgotten the Americans who liberated them, and nothing in my life has ever made me prouder to be an American. As we stood on Utah Beach and the bluffs of Pointe du Hoc where so many young lives ended watching our boys play soldier, we were struck by the tragic consequences of war on those who endure it. It robs boys of the innocence of their childhoods and ages them before their time. In our lives, we’ve met a lot of those young men, but this was the way we began introducing that particular difficult tale to our children.

But about the pictures: here is our Normandy set. It is the first of a new War Stories series we are working on that will (attempt to) show the tragedy of war; that those who served were young once, before their war.

 

Boys of Normandy

Boys of Normandy

Boys of Normandy

Boys of Normandy

Boys of Normandy

Boys of Normandy

Boys of Normandy

Boys of Normandy

Boys of Normandy

One thought on “War Stories: The Boys of Normandy

  • These are so moving. Your children will grasp history in ways that many never will. Someday, I hope we can find the poem Zach wrote as a little boy, early one morning at the breakfast counter in our home in Arkansas.

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