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A Veteran's Story: Return to The Beaches of Normandy

Hosted by Karine Hagen

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy and forever changed the world. Hear from World War II veteran Robert Allen of the 743rd Tank Battalion as he makes an emotional return with Viking Cruises® to this fateful stretch of French coastline. Then just 19 years old, Mr. Allen served in a battalion that worked on amphibious tanks. One of five tank battalions that participated in the Normandy Invasion, the 743rd was selected to be one of three tank assault battalions that would land with the first wave on D-Day. “They went in the first wave with some of the infantry, and our tanks all sank,” he remembers. “We lost almost 500 men in that first charge.” Traveling with Viking Cruises, Mr. Allen visited the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, which is located on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach. There, he found the graves of some of the “tank boys.” “Visiting the cemetery, when I started walking and looked out, it got to me quick. I know what they must have suffered.” Returning to the site where so many sacrificed so much was important to the veteran. “You should do this,” he says. “The whole thing is a real emotional experience . . . but a good one.” Viking Cruises includes a full-day tour to the historic beaches of Normandy as part of its Paris & the Heart of Normandy itinerary. Viking Cruises salutes our veterans. Thank you for your service. Karine Hagen of Viking River Cruises is your host.

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy and forever changed the world. Hear from World War II veteran Robert Allen of the 743rd Tank Battalion as he makes an emotional return with Viking Cruises® to this fateful stretch of French coastline. Then just 19 years old, Mr. Allen served in a battalion that worked on amphibious tanks. One of five tank battalions that participated in the Normandy Invasion, the 743rd was selected to be one of three tank assault battalions that would land with the first wave on D-Day. “They went in the first wave with some of the infantry, and our tanks all sank,” he remembers. “We lost almost 500 men in that first charge.” Traveling with Viking Cruises, Mr. Allen visited the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, which is located on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach. There, he found the graves of some of the “tank boys.” “Visiting the cemetery, when I started walking and looked out, it got to me quick. I know what they must have suffered.” Returning to the site where so many sacrificed so much was important to the veteran. “You should do this,” he says. “The whole thing is a real emotional experience . . . but a good one.” Viking Cruises includes a full-day tour to the historic beaches of Normandy as part of its Paris & the Heart of Normandy itinerary. Viking Cruises salutes our veterans. Thank you for your service. Karine Hagen of Viking River Cruises is your host.

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