What a beautiful small seaside town! Avranches is a town of contradictions, old neo-gothic church, built in the 19th Century, and exquisite old architecture, a wealth of history, which has been turbulent at times. I could not help but to notice that there are a plethora of young people walking about and sitting in cafes. The town has a young vibe, a young heart and an old soul, about it because of a prominent Lycee (High School) and University and the old buildings. It has an approximate population size of 8,000 and it is one of Normandy’s oldest towns. It is a hop, skip and jump from the famous Mont St. Michel Abbey over the bay.
Walking through Avranches, we stumbled upon a Patton Memorial located on Place du General Patton. It’s in the middle of a roundabout of all places. We battled traffic to get to the monument with a massive tank with tank tracks, a bronze bust of General George S. Patton and abelisk-type monument and a time capsule. I could picture in my minds eye, the bombing, the tanks rumbling into Avranche and soldiers marching. As I read the monument with the history the children’s faces lighted up as they listened closely. As I looked at my own children, I thought about the children that lived in that time and how scary it must have been. I started telling Kale and Madison about the history of the liberation of Avranches during WWII, led by General Patton that began on 31 July 1944.
The text on the obelisk:
DU 31 JULIET AU 16 AOUT 1944
REALISANT LA PERCEE D’AVRANCHES
DANS LE VACARME DE SES BLINDES
EN MARCHE VERS LA VICTOIRE
ET LA LIBERATION DE LA FRANCE
A GLORIEUSE ARMEE AMERICAINE DU GENERAL PATTON
A FRANCHI CE CARREFOUR
Between July 31st and August 16th, 1944
the glorious American Army of General Patton
passed this crossroad
accomplishing the break-through at Avranches
with the thunder of his armour
on his way to the victory
and liberation of France
What powerful words inscribed on the Monument!
After a reverent pause, the children starting playing around the monuments and I could not help but to think, these are the moments that are teaching moments and you can’t replicate this in a classroom. The World is our Classroom!
I am looking forward to bringing the children to the D-Day Beaches, Omaha Beach, Normandy Beach, Utah Beach and reading more history.
“Peace and Love” – “Paix et Amour”
by: Tara Magaw