Local scouts get big history lesson
April 28, 2011
- Boy Scouts across Europe gather in Normandy during rally
- Rally organized to encourage financial donations to maintain historic beaches
- The Boy Scouts of America first organized rally in 1994
NORMANDY, France - Fifteen Mannheim area scouts from Pack 137 took part in a rally on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, April 15-17.
Some 3,000 American Boy Scouts from throughout Europe paraded on Omaha Beach, forming the phrase, "Normandie, Land of Liberty."
The goal of the operation was to provide support to have the five beaches (Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword) of the World War II invasion known as Operation Overlord listed as part of UNESCO's World Heritage.
Since 1994, the Boy Scouts of America organize a triennial rally in Normandy. The director of the Normandie MAfAmoire Association explained the Scout organization proposed its member Scouts take part in a memorial workshop around the Allied Landing and the Battle of Normandy.
This year the Mannheim area scouts who took part in the event gained historical knowledge and the experience of camping, a first-time adventure for many of them in their early scouting careers.
"The event was a tremendous opportunity for our youth to learn more about history and truly appreciate the freedoms that we enjoy today because of our brave World War II veterans," said Lt. Col. Lisa Griffin, U.S. Army Garrison Mannheim commander, who attended the event with her family. "To hear our National Anthem played on Omaha beach and to watch our youth and their families proudly render a scout salute or place their hand on their hearts was incredible," she added.
The scouts were joined by dozens of veterans who landed on the Normandy beaches in June 1944.
A closing ceremony was held at the Omaha National Cemetery where scouts laid wreaths to honor the fallen and families decorated the graves with tulips.