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Travel often walks us through some of the world’s most historic events that shape the world as it stands today. At Iconic Life, we seek to bridge momentous experiences in new places while nodding to the history and persons that contributed to these unique locales. Previously, we have celebrated the Fourth of July in colonial Williamsburg and paid tribute to the lives lost on September 11th, 2001 with a visit to the powerful 9/11 Pentagon Memorial.
This November, we celebrate Veterans Day to honor everyone who has served in the U.S. Military and sacrificed for their country. Veterans Day, formally known as Armistice Day, was originally deemed a legal holiday on November 11, 1938 to honor the end of World War I. This year, consider taking the long weekend to remember the veterans in your life at these international locations from Normandy to the Netherlands.
The Brave Monument at Omaha Beach
NORMANDY | Normandy, France
This past June marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when American, British and Canadian soldiers waged a three-month battle that ultimately ended WWII. Visitors can see the many beaches the troops landed on, including Sword Beach, Gold Beach, Juno Beach and, of course, Omaha Beach, where much of the invasion took place. The region in Western France is filled with memorials like the Normandy American Cemetery, the Omaha Memorial Museum and the Overlord Museum. With so many military attractions in the area, history buffs are advised to book a VIP private tour with Normandy at War Tours. Once there, your guide, Pierre-Samuel Natanson, a Normandy native who has a degree in military history, provides visitors with an intimate understanding of the historic events.
Chateau La Cheneviere
Where to Stay: Château La Chenevière, a Small Luxury Hotels of the World property, is set in an 18th century manor house and with just 29 rooms, the space is ultra-cozy and provides personalized services. Head to Zanzibar, the hotel’s hidden gem of a lounge decorated with items from the owner’s personal global travels.
Designed by Maya Lin, The Vietnam War Memorial is considered one of the most moving war memorials in the country.
Photo by Sean Pavone / Shutterstock
VIETNAM WAR MEMORIAL | Washington, D.C.
The Vietnam War is engrained on our nation’s soul. The main part of the Vietnam War Memorial sits in Constitution Gardens, adjacent to the National Mall. Designed by Maya Lin, it is considered one of the most moving war memorials in the country. The Memorial Wall features 140 panels listing more than 58,000 names of the service men and women who lost their life and those that are still unaccounted for after the war. While simple in design and concept, the effect is powerful. Many visitors come to see their loved one’s name on the wall. The names are listed alphabetically and a catalog near the entrance can be used to find the location of any name. The memorial also includes The Three Servicemen Statue and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial—all worth taking your time to pay respects.
The Plume at The Jefferson
Where to Stay: The Jefferson is the finest luxury boutique hotel in the city. The décor blends European elegance with Washington sophistication. The Michelin-rated Plume is the only restaurant in the city that earned a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star rating and is a must-see while visiting the nation’s capital.
Photo by RockerStocker / Shutterstock
Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial | Netherlands
Located two hours outside of Amsterdam in Margraten, the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial lies on the same route that the German troops used to retreat after American forces liberated the Netherlands. The visitor’s center features military operation maps and a tablet of names of missing soldiers. Outside, the cemetery features a statue of a mourning woman and a tall tower facing a reflecting pool.
Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre at Conservatorium
Where to Stay: The top luxury hotel in the country is Amsterdam’s Conservatorium. The hotel is a modern masterpiece inside a landmark heritage building located in Museum Square. Don’t miss the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing spa during your long weekend getaway.
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: “Tower of Voices” Inspires Healing and Contemplation in Remembrance of 9/11
Photo by Sean Pavone / Shutterstock
THE LIBERTY MEMORIAL AND NATIONAL WWI MUSEUM | Kansas City, MO
At the end of WWI, several influential Kansas City citizens built the Liberty Memorial to honor Americans who lost their lives in the battle. In 2004, an accompanying museum, the National WWI Museum opened on the same site. Today the museum is considered the country’s leading institution dedicated to remembering and interpreting the Great War. The museum tells the story of WWI through the eyes of those that lived it with interactive displays, films and via real-world accounts.
Today the museum is considered the country’s leading institution dedicated to remembering and interpreting the Great War. The museum tells the story of WWI through the eyes of those that lived it with interactive displays, films and via real-world accounts.
The Fontaine Hotel Kansas City
Where to Stay: The Fontaine is the hottest boutique hotel in the city right now. Located in the upscale Country Club Plaza area, The Fontaine is named after the many fountains that are peppered throughout the Plaza. The aesthetic is chic and modern with Mediterranean influences.
Photo by pinggr Shutterstock
PEARL HARBOR NATIONAL MEMORIAL | Oahu, HA
The attack on Pearl Harbor was a pivotal point in U.S. history and the turning point of WWII. The USS Arizona Memorial just reopened in September after a yearlong multimillion-dollar renovation project. Visiting the memorial and the program that includes a film and bus shuttle to the Memorial are complimentary. For a deeper dive into the history, book their deluxe tour that features virtual reality immersive experiences. It is advisable in peak season to reserve tickets to the Memorial online to avoid long lines. There are two galleries featuring the exhibitions, “Road to War,” and “Attack” that feature artifacts, personal memorabilia, photos and more.
La Hiki Kitchen at Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina
Where to stay: Set on a site that was the vacation spot for King Kamehameha, the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina will make anyone feel like royalty. Don’t miss dining at the resort’s delectable La Hiki Kitchen.
Photo by Delmas Lehman / Shutterstock
NATIONAL MEMORIAL ARCH | Valley Forge, PA
Located in Valley Forge National Park in Pennsylvania, the National Memorial Arch commemorates George Washington and the Continental Army’s arrival in Valley Forge. The Park itself is of huge historic significance as it was the winter encampment of the Continental Army between 1777-1778. It was here that Washington turned colonists into soldiers and a cohesive army that was able to beat the formidable British forces in the Revolutionary War. Today visitors can tour the encampment and enjoy historical stories and recreations.
The Rittenhouse Hotel
Where to Stay: With Philadelphia only a short 45-minute drive from Valley Forge, we recommend staying in the City of Brotherly Love at the boutique Rittenhouse Hotel. Located in Rittenhouse Square, the hotel is celebrating its 30th year as one of Philadelphia’s top luxury hotels. For a different dining experience, indulge in traditional afternoon tea at the Mary Cassatt Tea Room.
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