Behind-the-scenes access occurs along the small village roads, not at the major monuments and museums. On one tour, in the countryside of Normandy, not far from La Fiere, as we prepared to board the motor coach, a local gentleman farmer with very limited English, recognized our guide’s 82nd Airborne patch and stopped to ask about his service and the group….
In spite of the language challenge, he understood we were a group from the US, interested in the military history of the Normandy invasion, and he invited us to follow him to his barn….. Inside, he shared his treasured collection of US military relics that have been uncovered in his pastures during the years. Of great interest was this canopy, which was verified by the “stamp date.” He welcomed us to unfold it… and as we gathered around, holding a piece of history, we were left to wonder about the fate of the paratrooper.