Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom®

The Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom® Albert H. Small Student & Teacher Institute takes students and teachers on the journey of a lifetime to explore WWII history through the life of a Silent Hero who is memorialized in the Normandy American Cemetery. This program is made possible through the generous support of Mr. Albert H. Small.

The application period is closed and no more applications will be accepted this year. All applicants will be notified of the decision no later than Friday, December 22, 2017.

All applicants must be available to participate in the institute from June 16 - June 28, 2018.

All students must be either a sophomore or junior in high school at the time of applying. Educators applying with the student can be middle or high school level.

About the Institute
Silent Heroes
About the Institute

In June 2018, fifteen student/teacher teams will engage in a rigorous study of D-Day and World War II. Beginning in January, students and teachers will engage in an online class led by World War II historians, which includes weekly readings and online discussions with their peers. Additionally, teachers will aid students in the historical study of a Silent Hero buried in or memorialized at the Normandy American Cemetery whose story has not been previously told. With help from a research volunteer from the National Archives and Records Administration, students will research and learn about the life of a soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, or Coast Guardsman in order to build a website once they return from France.

In June, the teams will travel to Washington, D.C., where the students and teachers will be immersed in lectures and activities presented by World War II historians and they will participate in a scholarly study of the war memorials in the D.C. area in order to understand the cost of war.

On the final leg of the journey, the group will travel to France and walk in the footsteps of history in Normandy. In addition to learning from local historians and curators, students will study and make presentations on various aspects of the Normandy Campaign that they have individually studied throughout the year. The Washington, D.C. and Normandy portions of the institute will require significant walking. Please be sure that you are able to walk up to two miles on uneven terrain, in variable weather. Please be aware that due to health issues this is a tobacco free trip.

The last day in Normandy will be a day of remembrance. The students will present a eulogy at the grave of a Silent Hero® buried at the Normandy American Cemetery and present eulogies based on individual research of a member of the U.S. military who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Teams will return to the U.S. together, teachers are required to return from France with their student and accompany them to their final destination. Once the teams return from France, teachers will help their students as they work to build their Silent Hero profiles, which will be used to immortalize and pass on the memory of American sacrifice to later generations.

Please note that due to logistical arrangements, family members are not able to accompany the teams on the program.

Silent Heroes

The major assignment for the students and teachers during the Normandy Institute is the Silent Heroes project. Each student/teacher team researches a service member from their region who fought at Normandy and paid the ultimate sacrifice. After exhaustive research, the students and teachers create a website dedicated to their soldier’s life and ultimate sacrifice. Below are examples of the memorial websites students have made for their Silent Heroes. These websites show the work of students and teachers and feature the powerful eulogies delivered at the graves of their Silent Heroes in the Normandy American Cemetery.


Mr. Albert H. Small generously funds the Normandy: Sacrifice For Freedom® Albert H. Small Student and Teacher Institute. Mr. Small is a World War II veteran, a real estate developer, and a life-long collector of rare historic manuscripts and maps. Mr. Small is a noted philanthropist. He donated his Declaration of Independence collection to the University of Virginia, where it is housed in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. Additionally, he donated his extensive collection of rare Washington, D.C. manuscripts, prints, and maps to The George Washington University, where it is part of the Albert H. Small Center for National Capital Area Studies.

Mr. Small serves on numerous civic and cultural boards, including the Aspen Institute, the National Trust for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the National Symphony Orchestra, Ford's Theatre, and the National Archives Foundation. He is a member of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress and the Life Guard of Mount Vernon. For his support of the humanities, President Barack Obama awarded him the National Humanities Medal.

Thank you Mr. Small for helping our young men and women learn about the importance of the sacrifices made by the World War II generation.

Thank you to our institute partners:
White House Historical Association
National Archives and Records Administration

Applications for 2018 are closed.

All applicants will be notified of the decision no later than Friday, December 22, 2017.

Donate to the Normandy Program