ST. MARYS — A St. Marys servicewoman walked the beaches and explored the historic landmarks of Normandy, France, this week, participating in the 68th Commemoration of D-Day.
U.S. Army Spc. Kelly Reiher was one of 300 troops who traveled to Normandy for several days of events to mark the history of D-Day. According to a news release issued by the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command, the soldiers, who were in Normandy from June 1-7, participated in “an airborne operation at St. Mere Eglise, represent the U.S. at numerous ceremonies each day and attend historical lectures at some of the most significant military sites of the 20th century.” Reiher noted several sites she had visited.
“We’ve been to Omaha Beach, Utah Beach — we’ve been everywhere,” she said. “They take us around on a bus and show us all the monuments.”
Reiher said she enjoyed visiting the 507 drop-off site.
“(We visited) the 507 drop-on where they landed on D-Day — that was pretty awesome,” she said. “We’ve seen the 507 monument also. We’ve been everywhere. We’ve seen all kinds of stuff here. It’s been fun.”
Reiher also visited with children while in Normandy.
“They came up to us — they love us here,” she said. “They came up to us, and we traded a whole bunch of our passes and flags with them.”
She noted one stop as her favorite of her trip.
“We also went to the American Cemetery,” Reiher said. “That was probably my favorite place.”
With this being her first time traveling outside the United States, Reiher said the trip has been a learning experience for her.
“I’m just honored to be a part of it,” she said. “I’ve learned a lot of history, stuff I didn’t know about D-Day. Seeing where they actually dropped off and paratrooped in is kind of overwhelming. It’s really awesome. I’m so honored to be a part of it.”
The experience, she said, has made her more proud to be a part of the U.S. Army.
Reiher said she was humbled to be involved in the commemoration.
Visiting the site where her battalion jumped was meaningful, she said.
“I’m just very, very honored to be here,” Reiher said. “I’m learning a lot of history here. Seeing where my battalion jumped in meant a lot to me.”