In the spring of 1999, Amelia Balaji was preparing to participate in the very first International Experience. She talked about her plans with Al DeCarlo, her AP American History teacher, who immediately caught her enthusiasm and began to see the benefits this voyage could bring to him. In July 2001, Al DeCarlo became the first teacher participant in Normandy Allies. He brought the lessons home, inspiring 28 Pittsford-Mendon and Victor NY students to follow the student path pioneered by Amelia and her multi-state group. Al writes: “The Normandy Allies Experience was a life changing educational opportunity for me. Seeing history come alive while visiting the beaches of Normandy has provided great insight and credibility for my WWII unit each year in my AP American History classes. Watching the start of Saving Private Ryan has become one of my favorite lessons as I dissect the Hollywood version of D-Day with what I learned and experienced first hand with the tremendous Normandy Allies Team and an actual D-Day Veteran/Hero. Promoting this trip to my students takes on a whole new meaning...
My recent trip to France with Normandy Allies offered me a tremendous opportunity to learn much more about my late father’s participation on D-Day. My Dad, Marvin D. Lanning, served in the United States Navy aboard LCI (L)-506 (Landing Craft Infantry Large – 351 Class) on June 6th, 1944. The US-designed LCI was the smallest ocean-going landing craft used during the invasion, and was designed to transport and land a company of soldiers (about 200 officers and men). Of a ship’s crew of 21, my father served as the communications specialist, and assistant ship’s navigator. His “big war story” was the Normandy landing. His ship was assigned to land British troops on Juno Beach. LCI-506 departed from England about 10 pm on June 5th, joined up with a cross-channel convoy, and arrived at Juno about 9 am on June 6th: D-Day. Dad’s LCI headed towards Juno Beach about 9:55 am, and struck a mine on the way in, about 200 yards off shore. A LCI has two ramps (one on each side of the ship) to off-load troops. The...
J.D. Hodges, an SDSU student that was on our May/June 2014 trip, recalls his experience in a travelogue originally posted on Medium. See his story here: D-Day 70 Years...
Join us as we journey to Normandy to remember and honor all who served during the 1944 Landings and Liberation. Our annual International Experience continues to ensure that this history will never be forgotten.
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2016: Normandy Allies offers opportunities to commemorate strategic events of the Normandy Landings.
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1999 student, Blythewood SC
I am used to the same people, lower to middle class kids, and never seeing really a better side of the world. So the most significant thing to me about this trip was me learning to love another culture other than ours.
student, 2011, Salisbury MD
This experience helped me prepare for the “real world.” I came into it not knowing anyone, but left with great, close friends. I learned a lot more about the war while still having fun. It was also really great to see how much the French appreciated what the Americans did for them.
2003 student, Novato CA
The personal aspects of the war, which I couldn’t have understood without having the chance to speak with the witnesses. Being able to experience the emotions of the French people is what made this time more than just a history lesson.
World War II Heroes Foundation — Normandy Allies