Jordan Wilson spent five weeks this summer participating in the Oxford WMU-Cooley Law Study Abroad Program. During a three day weekend during the program, Jordan made sure to take a trip to France to visit Paris and Normandy; places he had on his bucket list. Given the recent tragedy in Paris, Jordan’s visit this past summer seems even more poignant and meaningful.
On a clear and sunny Friday morning this past summer, Jordan, his mom and grandfather took the Eurostar to Paris where the family scheduled a stay for three nights. A whirlwind tour. They spent the first day in Paris touring the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe, Napoleon’s Tomb, the Rodin Museum, and the Eiffel Tower. They were in awe. “The history, art and culture of Paris was breathtaking,” shared Jordan.
The next day they rode a train to Bayeux in Normandy where they took a guided tour of the American landing sites at the Normandy beaches. The tour included visiting Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, and the Normandy American Cemetery. The America Cemetery was one of the most sobering sites Jordan ever experienced. As they overlooked the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc, they were told that this was where the Rangers scaled the cliffs to capture the German battery, which was able to fire on the main beaches.
That morning they also viewed the famous Bayeux Tapestry that depicted William the Conqueror crossing the English Channel and “conquering” England. They visited the monument at the edge of Pointe du Hoc where President Reagan made his famous speech on the 40th anniversary of the D-Day landings. They saw one of the bunkers, still intact at Pointe du Hoc, built by the Germans as part of their “Atlantic Wall.” “It was all mind numbing to believe that something like this happened. Yet it still happens today, but in different ways,” said Jordan somberly.
Jordan reflected, “The Oxford Program was an incredible academic experience, but it also allowed me a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit historic places that I may never have had the opportunity to do.”
Today, and every day, we remember and honor our veterans and thank them for their service and sacrifice.