Exploring Europe: young adults travel abroad

Story By Alyssa Massingill

Photos By Henry Chan

Henry Chan, a Baylor graduate student from Hong Kong, traveled this summer around Europe photographing his way from country to country. His journey yielded great adventure and a surprising experience in Normandy, France.

While Henry recalls the great pride of the Scottish and the food from Italy, he recounts a very different perspective from a recent trip to Omaha Beach in Normandy, France.

Henry exited the museum and came face-to-face with a sea of graves.

"It's moving. It makes you cringe. Your eyes are welled up. You see all the photos of the guys who died. You walk out into rows upon rows of crosses and Star of Davids. Then you realize there are 9000 headstones. 9000. Some of them don't even have names on them. It's moving. These are young men. It's hard to see."

Back in Waco, Henry stares into the darkness. Ironically, he recounts his story while in his Army ROTC uniform.

"I saw one lady crying her eyes out, just bawling, and I was thinking she must have someone in service. The next thing you know, she's speaking fluent Parisian French. It was very interesting for me to see.

After Henry left the memorial, he encountered yet another surprising moment in Normandy.

"One day I was talking to a French storekeeper, talking about the beachheads. It was very moving to see all them. She asked if I was in service and I said I was in training. Then, she started giving me free soda and fridge magnets. You would expect this in maybe, Texas or Tennessee, but certainly not in France. But, they really like Americans over there. It was an interesting experience."