We weren't allowed to take photos of anything other than documents, so there are not a lot of photos of today. That said, today was a highlight. Matt and I have been researching Kenneth R. Day, a New Hampshire Private who served and died at Normandy on D-Day. Day was no more than a boy when he died. He had no children, and as far as we know no love interests. His brother Vernon died young, and his parents split and left Danville after the war. Days first cousin Howard Collins still lives in Danville and we met with him earlier this winter. Collins told us so much about Danville in the 1940s, about Day's going away party, and about how they all learned of his death, the only in the small industrial and farming town. One fact has eluded us: what did Day do to earn his prestigious Silver Star? No one in town knew. Not even the authors of the towns history book, Reminisences. Today we solved the mystery:
Todays lectures started out gloriously! We are so incredibly lucky to be hearing from these scholars of WWII. This morning, our guides took us through a map activity focused on understanding the build up to D-Day. I posted mine here because... Well Matthew isn't the greatest artist. That said, he demonstrated mastery over the history covered in the maps. It was a proud moment as his teacher! After just two days, I'm at over ten pages of notes on things I did not know before this program!
Our first lecture was on the build up to war-- understanding early context. The professor was our curriculum cordinator, Dr. Charles Chadbourn of the U.S. Naval War College. We began with the Russo-Japanese war and WWI-- arguably the precursors, or simply part of a Thirty Years War. The second lecture was on the intricacies of the warfare, advantages and disadvantages of each side-- taught by Dr. Porter Blakemore from Mary Washington University.
In the afternoon we headed to Arlington Cemetary to view notable graves from soldiers of color and women. The journey started with Medgar Evars, who you might recall from your US textbook on Civil Rights-- he wanted to go to the Mississippi Law School, but they wouldn't let him in, even after Brown v. Topeka. He fought at Normandy to help free the oppressed peoples of Europe only to return home and be treated like that. He was killed by a Klansmen in front of his family. It was meaningful to stand at his grave.
Matthew is having a great time and making connections with people from all over the country. I had to pull him away from a game of Mafia in order to get him to send the following to share...
Opperation body guard, operation homefront, and operation touring monuments... Oh wait that's made up
Day two of Normandy involved two lectures: one on the intelligence efforts to deceive the Germans before invasion at Normandy and the other on propaganda on the home front. Riveting information was shared by Dr. Raymond Batvinis of the FBI and George Washington University. Have you ever heard of Garbo? Not the actress, but the Spaniard who volunteered to spy for the Brits and helped keep the Germans focused on the Pas de Calais as the invasion site instead of the actual site miles away. Code named Garbo, he was a huge hit with our group and kept us engaged for the long, college-like lecture. The Homefront lecture provided incredible insight into the vast scope of jobs and peoples involved in the war effort: propagated by American propaganda. The professor, Dr. Claudine Ferrell from the University of Mary Washington, was incredibly knowledgeable. After lunch we headed to the monuments again to focus on the monuments made during WWII, or about WWII. Seeing the Jefferson memorial in this light brought new meaning to the selected quotes about freedom, liberty, and tyranny.