Dad and JJ in Paris

My father enjoying fine French weather with his grandson

It was the end of May, and talking to my 88 year old dad he said he was thinking of going to France for the D-day celebration in a couple of weeks. I asked him “Dad, do you even have a valid passport – I mean when did you use it last.” Turns out he last used it ten years before- so I thought I was safe with that idea.

Two days later we were talking and he said, “I booked the trip to Normandy.”

“You going with mom?”

“No, she wants to stay here.”

My dad was 88, has a few heart stents, has been taken off the plane by an ambulance at least once. I talked with my wife “You have to go.”

She was right- I did. So, I turned in a bunch of miles and took my wife and son and off to see Europe we went.

It was one of my favorite trips with my dad – and with JJ and my wife. I can’t wait to return

Here is what we discovered:

North of France is where the allies landed – we liberated them. While you hear how French don’t like Americans – in the North of France they love us. Not only did we liberate them from the Nazi, we rebuilt their cities that became a victim of war. The South of France was the part of France that welcomed the Nazi invaders – the Vichy government.  I don’t know if that is the issue or not- but when it comes to France- no where did I feel more loved as an American than in Normandy. Normandy isn’t a city – it is a region – the northern part of France against the sea – a number of small towns, from where they landed at the Beaches of Omaha, Gold Beach, and others to the small towns that you may have seen if you watched “Band of Brothers.”

Most of the crew from Normandy love Americans- especially pretty ones

There are a thousand small places to stay – great bed and breakfast places, and they will give you the most amazing food and directions- a lot nicer than staying in a hotel. Here was one we enjoyed and reviewed here.

The small bed and breakfasts are great places to stay and you get a flavor of the area

They celebrate D-day like we do- because Normandy was occupied by the Germans, and look to the allies as the ones that both saved them from the oppression of occupation, but then rebuilt their cities better than they were before.


On D-Day an American Paratrooper, John Steel, was tangled in the church at the town center of St. Mere Eglise. They have this as a monument to him, and the 82 Airborne who lost many lives during D-Day

The D- Day celebrations continue every year- and are worth going to. My father was the hero there- as a member of the US Army that liberated this part of France everyone wanted to have their photo taken with him. When we went into a restaurant and they identified us as “Americans” the people would sit down with us – and talk about how the war affected them, and how grateful they were for our intervention.

My father – giving his fallen comrades a salute at the Omaha Beach Cemetery in Normandy

Paris – when we arrived in the afternoon there were three people in the bar- all of them had fought in World War 2 – and all of them, like my dad, were enjoying a single drink thinking about the city they had liberated, along with a region – and rightfully enjoying being the only ones in the bar.

While most people have heard of the liberation of Paris- the liberation was first Normandy. Paris, is where the servicemen still like to go for drinks

As much as my dad enjoyed visiting Normandy, he had more fun with his grandson

Many museums around the countryside with World War 2 equipment – a great place for little boys to play

The gliders used to land the army and a tank used in World War 2 at a local museum


France loves children – and there are parks in every city – with gates to keep little children in- and lots of places for them to play

Terry Cigar France

And what would a trip to Europe be without a good cigar- you can even find cigars that are made in a country south of Florida – on an island.