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NCS Goes to Europe
Ask any one of the NCS students who spent two weeks in Europe what their favorite part of the trip was, and you’ll likely get many different answers.
Maybe it was the last night in Normandy, when we walked barefoot on Gold Beach, where the British forces landed on D-Day, the cool winds of the English Channel not enough to stop one student from diving head first into the frigid water and swimming to the remains of the artificial harbors.
Maybe it was the next night, in Paris, when we all ventured to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and made it down just in time to see the light show, some of us thinking, in hindsight, the elevator really would have been better than the stairs.
Or, for some, it was the morning in the Alps, driving past the crystal blue rivers on the way to Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s mountain retreat, where he only visited fourteen times to entertain people of significance, but many of us would have stayed forever given the chance.
And, in between, the moments no less significant: walking where bunkers once stood at Dachau Concentration Camp and feeling the emotional pull of the events that occurred there decades ago; a moment difficult to label as a favorite, but still meaningful in its own right. Or the American Cemetery, in Normandy, hearing the Star Spangled Banner play as the waves of Omaha Beach rolled in the distance. Touring through Notre Dame during mass, as the late afternoon sun streamed through a stained glass window onto a priest in red robes, or having our first (and possibly last) sauerkraut on the last night in Munich.
Maybe it was running after a train in London after spending too much time gazing at Big Ben and the Elizabethan Tower lit up at night, watching the Glockenspiel in Munich perform its nightly show, seeing the Mona Lisa, or touring the gardens at Versailles.
Or, maybe, the best part was looking around at dinner, seeing the exhausted, happy looks on everyone’s faces, and the agreement that, even after two weeks together, we could have gone two more.
For two weeks, NCS students toured five countries with the purpose of experiencing the history of World War II firsthand. They explored Churchill’s London war room, touched the Nazi bunker walls in the Alps, and stood in foxholes Allied soldiers used during the Battle of the Bulge. They wondered how a cathedral in Cologne escaped destruction from Allied bombing, and learned how a country learns from its mistakes at the Topography of Terror Museum in Berlin before laying hands on what remains of the wall that once divided a country in two.
Ask any one of the NCS students who spent two weeks in Europe what their favorite part of the trip was, and you’ll likely get many different answers. Ask them if they’d do it again, and you’ll likely only get one answer.
For a student perspective on the trip, see junior Hope McWright's story here.