A year ago Jerry Hulse did a story on the Northstar Invasion Tour of Europe offered by Boon-Erik Tours of Minneapolis. My wife and I and another couple took the tour and were at the beaches in Normandy for the D-Day celebrations last year. There were 29 veterans, 19 of whom were in Normandy in June, 1944, among the 72 in our group. What made the trip was hearing firsthand experiences at places where they occurred.
In Ste.-Mere Eglise one veteran saw his picture taken 40 years earlier as his unit was moving through the town, on the wall of the bank he entered to make an exchange. After he identified himself, the bank called the newspaper. He was interviewed, more pictures were taken, and he was given several enlarged pictures of the one on the bank wall. Another veteran found the area near Aachen where he was wounded, and yet another found the road junction and house where they set up a command post.
For most of the veterans it was the first time back. To a man, they felt the trip was a necessary experience to help put to rest their deep-rooted feelings. The still-warm feelings of the populace also helped.