D-Day and Detroit

Years ago, way back in 1998, my son attended the Older Homeschoolers Group in Detroit. We had seen the advertisement in Growing Without Schooling, then about the only resource for homeschooling parents and students.

Many courses and activities were offered and they were centralized in the basement of this enormous home on the Detroit River. The host family was always gracious and welcoming and their oldest daughter, Emily, was the founder of the group. Wanting to share her high school years with kids her own age and also homeschooling, she started the group.

We had French classes taught by a local French teacher, cultural outings to opera and the theater, swimming groups, art classes, reading classes, on and on and on.

We also had people come speak to the kids. One speaker was a gentleman from Detroit who had been a cartographer during WWII. His story was fascinating. He was an artist and upon entering the service, they placed him in the cartography unit because of his skills.

He told us the story of D-Day and his part in it.

Because the whole operation needed to be a gigantic surprise to the Germans, the orders along with the maps were not given to the command until the wee hours of the morning before embarkation. He was trusted with delivering the information to the commanding officer of the invasion.

They gave him a motorcycle and had him drive several hours to the location where he was to pass on this information. About two hours into his trip, he was stopped by MP’s because they thought it was suspicious that he was driving all by himself in the middle of the night! He was taken to their command and was questioned. Luckily he had concealed the documents somewhere on his body that wasn’t obvious and the MP’s didn’t search him. Even though they were on our side, he wasn’t to let anyone know about what he was carrying.

After about an hour, during which he sweated profusely, he was allowed to continue his journey. He made it to the command office and delivered the plan of the attack, which had to wait for the weather to clear, which took 24 hours. This invasion turned the War in the favor of the allies.

This was such a humbling experience to listen to this gentleman explain his duties in the War and his triumph over adversity. This was one of the best experiences our homeschoolers had …………

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jennifer says:

    I know – it was so neat. This guy was interesting and about 75 with white hair – and a lot of the homeschoolers were dumbfounded by his story.

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  2. Wow. Just wow. So much more powerful to hear this than to read about it in a text book.

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  3. suth2 says:

    As you say, a humbling experience. The children were very fortunate to hear about it from the “horse’s mouth”. Lucky kids. It is something they will never forget.

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  4. I believe this is a wonderful way to learn. Different people telling real life experiences about life and work.

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