Family Ties: This Father’s Day, outfit Dad with the gift of travel

My dad Dennis and I used to go get coffee and donuts every Saturday when I was a kid — but we came a long way from there this spring on Normandy & the D-Day Beaches. I was excited to share with him what my company does (I’m an Executive Assistant at Vantage), and everything that happens on the Seine River. We graduated from the donuts to cappuccinos, café au lait, croissants, and macaroons!

If your dad is like mine, he’s always hard to buy for.  He is so often helping me work on my house, or fixing my car, and yet finding the perfect gift to show my appreciation on Father’s Day often eludes me.

When the opportunity came up that we could both go to France, I jumped on it, but that wasn’t the only reason — his first trip to France back in 1997 was memorable, but not for the best reasons. He and my brother were in Paris for one day, and tried to take a city bus tour, but due to strikes and protests, the bus never moved.

Sailing down the river we were able to see so much more than we would have been able to on our own. We both really enjoyed the fishing port in Honfleur, the Chateau-Gaillard castle high up on the hill in Les Andelys, but I was eager for him to see Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery. He has always been drawn to books, movies, and documentaries about World War II, so I knew he would really enjoy it.

After an emotional day of walking on the beach and through the rows of white crosses in the cemetery, he remarked that he thought his own father, who served in the Pacific during the war, would have loved to have seen Normandy, too. Seeing what those soldiers went through really put things into perspective. I’ll always be glad we had the chance to take this trip together, and that I was able to give him a memorable Father’s Day that didn’t include the typical gift of socks or a tie.