My Europe Experience

WWI Memorial in Rome

WWI Memorial in Rome

It is the end of week 1 in France. I came to Europe early and my first stop was Italy. The trip to Italy was not what I expected at all. In places where there seems to be a lot of tourism, people tend to speak English. This was not the case in Italy. The public transportation in Italy is also not as expansive as in other major cities. These were the challenges Courtney C. and I took head on.

We did prevail and manage to see some pretty amazing things! Even things that would pertain to our class in Paris. In Italy they have memorials set up around the city just as they do here in Paris. [Read more…]

La Somme–by Zackery Thompson


A trench at Beaumont-Hamel

On our tour of the area involved in the Battle of the Somme we learned a lot about the events leading to the Great War, the daily soldier’s experience, and the various armies that participated in the battles. The amount of blood shed, life lost, and fierce, violent combat was shocking to learn about outside of a classroom. Throughout school we learn about several key battles of the War, and we always read that they were bloody battles, but being at the actual battlefield, seeing trenches, and craters brings a whole new reality and appreciation for the nature of this War.

[Read more…]

The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme

Photo2203On Tuesday, May 28th,  the Missouri S&T students and faculty visited various places that went over the entire Battle of the Somme, many of which included graveyards and memorials. One such memorial that was visited mid-morning was Thiepval, precisely, The Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. Though we were only given a half-hour at the memorial, the impact of the site was still very heavy on us, as standing under the arches of the brick memorial and seeing every name of the nearly 72,000 missing men brought about feelings of intense loss. At the memorial, we visited the visitors’ center first and had an introduction to the Somme battles by our tour guide. We saw pictures of the men and  in the eyes of the soldiers one could see the horrors they experienced in war. Looking around the small visitors’ center could never prepare a person for the monument itself, even with the small model on display in the lobby.

[Read more…]

Let the Learning Begin!


All of our students have arrived safely. Just getting to Paris was a learning experience for all of them. The past few days they have begun exploring the city.

Our hotel is located in the 10th arrondissement in Paris, only a five-minute walk from the Canal St-Martin. It is a nice neighborhood, close to the Gare de l’Est (a train station) and many restaurants. But it is not surrounded by the iconic  monuments we associate with Paris.


Claire gives a talk on war propaganda

So when we took our first excursion on Monday, it was exciting to watch the students’ expressions as we came up out of the metro station and they got their first glimpse of Les Invalides, with its golden dome. We visited the World War I and II exhibits there, and Claire presented a talk on war propaganda.

Later that afternoon, we met the students at the Arc de Triomphe. While Shannon and I were walking along the Champs-Elysées, we ran into Dr. Dan Oerther and his family! They are in France for a conference.


It’s a small world! Here we are with Dr. Oerther and his family on the Champs-Elysées.



Courtney looks out over a battlefield in the Somme

Today (Tuesday) we went for an all-day tour of the Somme. The students will be posting more information about these visits in the following days.


Students contemplating the French side of the cemetery at Thiepval


Our guide teaches us about the Battle of the Somme

Second Day of Adventures

Today was an exciting adventure! A very – VERY – long adventure, but all us made it back safe and sound. Yesterday we visited the War Museum and took the WWI & WWII tour, then strolled over to the Arc de Triomphe for the afternoon. Today the students plus Dr. Fogg & Dr. Langston went on an 11 hour excursion to different war memorials, grave yards, and museums depicting World War I. Our first stop was the Australian memorial, Villers – Bretonneux, and the students actually got to venture up into the memorial tower.

British soldier's grave stone at Villers - Bretonnuex

British soldier’s grave stone at Villers – Bretonnuex

The main memorial building of Villers - Bretonnuex

The main memorial building of Villers – Bretonnuex

Our biggest stop of the day, after visiting various graveyards, had to be the trenches – we actually got to walk through the trenches along the soldiers path! It was very heart-wrenching thinking about how many men lost their lives in the very places we stood, but all the while an honorable memory.

The zig-zagging path of trenches at the Newfoundland memorial

The zig-zagging path of trenches at the Newfoundland memorial

Our last stop was the Historial de la Grande Guerre, where we got to see the uniforms of soldiers laid out in pits of the floor with all of their gear, propaganda posters covering the walls, and artifacts from The Great War. Seeing items that the men once used really strikes a chord in a person, it makes it hard to believe that the war occurred only ninety-nine years ago.

Uniform of a French Soldier - Historial de la Grande Guerre

Uniform of a French Soldier – Historial de la Grande Guerre

It makes you really think and feel the pasts setting, the feelings the people had to be experiencing in their time, and how those feelings echo into the present when we look back on our shared history. Everything we saw today brought to light the true meanings of memory and how those memories intertwine with history.

~Stephenie Lynch