EF Educational Tours Supports Nearly 800 Students Traveling to Normandy to Honor and Celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion During World War II

  • Students on tour will attend the official French-American ceremony commemorating the 80th Anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France

  • Augmented Reality and Podcast-Style experiences will teach students about the lives of veterans who lived through the invasion, with options to learn about soldiers from their hometowns

29th May 2024

May 29, 2024, Cambridge, MA -- On the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion by Allied Forces into France, EF Educational Tours will lead several tour groups of nearly 800 students from more than 50 high schools from across the United States who will visit the beaches of Normandy to honor the ultimate sacrifice of the Greatest Generation and celebrate their contributions to a free world.

On June 6, 1944, American, Canadian, and British forces made history as 156,000 soldiers landed on the heavily fortified coast of Normandy, France.

In honor of D-Day’s 80th anniversary, EF Educational Tours is proud to support students and educators from across the United States as they explore the historic sites of World War II.

While on tour, students will:

  • Visit Arromanches360, a circular theater experience offering an immersive history lesson about the war. Arromanches360 is located atop the cliffs that dominate the remnants of one of the two artificial Mulberry harbors set up by the Allies;

  • Explore the Caen Memorial Museum where EF Tours students will engage in an exclusive programing learning from experts about the D-Day landings and the battle of Normandy; and

  • Attend the official French-American Ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery on June 6th, where both United States President Joseph Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron are expected to attend and speak.

Honoring Those Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice

According to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, 119,550 of the 16.1 million Americans who served in World War II were still alive as of 2023, but we know we lose more of these brave soldiers everyday as time marches on.

EF Tours also sent participating educators from across the country, who are serving as group tour leaders, optional educational materials that help students learn (prior the tour) about a veteran nearby their home who was one of the 2,500 Americans who died during the D-Day invasion or one of the more than 73,000 Allied Forces who died during the ensuing Battle of Normandy (otherwise known as Operation Overlord).

“Students increasingly – with each day that passes - have less of an opportunity to meet a veteran who served in World War II, and our tours help these leaders of tomorrow learn about, commemorate and connect with veterans who fought and died during this battle against fascism,” said Kate Berseth, Executive Vice President, EF Educational Tours. “Beyond the real-life memory making tour that includes the beaches and battleground of Normandy, EF Tours is also utilizing podcast and augmented reality experiences and technology to help students further appreciate the lessons of World War II and about the heroism of veterans like Staff Sergeant Irving Locker and Private Jack Port.”

Meet Staff Sergeant Irving Locker and Private Jack Port: An Augmented Reality and Audio Podcast Experience

Irving Locker, who is alive and resides in Florida, is 99 years old. On June 6, 1944, Locker was one of the 156,000 soldiers to storm the beaches of Normandy, landing at Utah Beach. Six months later, Locker was a 19-year-old Staff Sergeant with the 116th AAA Gun Battalion of the 1st Army’s 7th Corps.

He found himself in the Ardennes Forest during the brutally cold winter of 1944-1945, and he played a part in the liberation of the Gardelegen Concentration Camp, about 100 miles west of Berlin, an experience he will never forget.

Locker provided EF with exclusive audio that students will experience during their bus rides to and around Normandy, where he talked about what it was like to grow up during this time, be drafted at nearly the same age of most our students attending, and what it was like to jump off a Higgins boat onto Utah beach during the invasion in 1944.

Private Jack Port entered the army in 1944. His first foray into the front lines also happened to be one of the largest amphibious assaults in history during the D-Day invasion on June 6, 1944. His service would also include fighting his way across Europe in the bloody months that followed.

After the war, Port became well known for sharing his experiences with students about landing on Utah Beach in Normandy. He reportedly returned to the small town of Normandy more than 30 times for D-Day commemorations and became a beloved adopted son. In 2018, the French city of Saint-Pois named its high school after him, the Ecole Publique Jack Port.

Private Jack Port, recently passed away in Escondido, California, at the age of 98, but his story lives on in augmented reality experience that students will engage while on the D-Day tour. Students will have the option to hear his story during the tour.

In gratitude for their service, France awarded both Locker and Port the country’s highest military award, the French National Order of Legion of Honor.

“The investments we make in technology to enhance the learning experience for students and the efforts we take to curate these learning experiences on tour are why more schools across the United States and Canada choose EF,” added Berseth. “The outcome of connecting the people who fought in a global conflict like World War II to the tour experience itself is one trip that will forever change a student, and we hope change them for the better as we work to build a more peaceful planet.”

About EF Educational Tours

EF Educational Tours is a leading partner of teachers and families nationwide, helping students engage with new cultures, languages, and experiences via international educational travel opportunities. EF Tours' compelling itineraries expand students' perspectives and prepare them for success in an ever-evolving world.

EF Tours is part of the EF Education First family of brands. With its mission to open the world through education, EF is a leader in language learning, travel, cultural exchange, and academic programs in over 100 countries.

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