yeesh. where do i even begin about this trip.
this trip was the last time my granpa would make the trek across the united states and atlantic ocean to france to participate in the 70th liberation celebrations of the south of france. this trip, my granpa turned 90 years old and we surprised him with a party that included friends who drove all the way from belgium just for the evening to celebrate him. this trip was the first time another, very special, part of my family was able to come to france, and surprised my granpa by doing so. (love you cuz)
this last trip to france in august was everything.
i've been lucky enough to attend the liberation celebrations of southern france the last 2 years, and i did so about 3 years before that as well when i was 21 with my mama and granpa.
at 19 years old, my granpa parachuted into southern france as a part of operation dragoon (of which you can do loads of research on simply by googlin it :)) it's known as the forgotten d-day, and is up there on the list of more important battles//operations of WWII.
70 years later, he can still recall memories from his experiences in wartime europe like it was yesterday.
there's nothing quite like experiencing this trip; in our country, there are many people who take pride in america, in freedom, in those who fight for our freedom, however, i can honestly say that i've never experienced pride and gratitude for the service of those veterans like that of the locals when i'm visiting southern france and participating in the liberation celebrations there.
people come up to my granpa weeping with gratitude. they ask for his autograph on their US army reenact-or uniform or on the inside of their helmet. they call him they're hero and they tell me how lucky i am to have him for a granpa.
to these people, the reality of having their freedom taken away was real. some of them were small children when my granpa and his operation arrived to liberate their country from german rule. and i just don't think that's something we can accurately grasp in this country where we are lucky enough to be free.
this time, knowing it was likely the last time he'd have the energy to make such a long trip, i asked the COSTA SISTERS to fly over from the UK to document our experience. i wanted people to be able to experience this along with us, and see how important it is to pass this history down to younger generations. i wanted people to experience my granpa and those like him who fought so long ago through my eyes and the eyes of all of our frenchie friends who see him as a living, breathing superman. they see him as someone they owe their freedom too. they see him as someone who gave up his youth to protect and defend people he didn't even personally know. and i see him as a man who raised me alongside my single mama, but more importantly as a man who gave so many others the opportunity to be raised in a place free of fear and distress.
he's my hero simply by being the silly, kind, warm, wise man that he is, but even more so, he's my hero because he is a hero to so many others and i consider myself blessed to know such an incredible person.
he's their hero, but he's my granpa, and he's still here with me, which makes me the absolute luckiest girl.
please watch the video at the end of this post from THE COSTA SISTERS and enjoy these still's they sent. they did such an unreal job on the video>> may i just suggest you snag some tissues first. :)
they also wrote a blogpost about their trip HERE.
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