East of Paris Bookstore

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

D-Day



Pointe du Hoc
June 6 -- the Normandy Invasion -- never to be forgotten, always to be admired.

Visiting the battlefields of Normandy should be on everyone's Bucket List.  Today the land is peaceful and lovely.  Signs along the coastal roads clearly mark the way to the legendary Omaha, Utah, Juno and Sword beaches.  Small museums preserve photos and uniforms, and helpful guides explain the hour by hour events of so many years ago.
The whole experience is moving and informative -- especially for diehard history buffs like Mr. Wonderful and me.
Omaha Beach
From the American cemetery  at Coleville-sur-Mer you can walk down to the beach that saw so much heroism, so much death.  The very symmetry and white marble of the markers is chilling, dignified and peaceful.
American Cemetery at Coleville













We stepped closer to see a name on one of the crosses and read: "Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known only to God."   We thanked him as tears fell.

Eglise Ste. Marie












The nearby village of Sainte-Mère-Église was the first town to be liberated.  It is featured in the film The Longest Day, which shows paratrooper John Steel getting his parachute caught on the church steeple and hanging there while fighting went on below him.  A silk chute still flutters of the steeple in remembrance.


The coastal town of Arromanches-les-Bains has the largest local museum and is a good stop for lunch.


The museum shows a film, houses old uniforms and weapons and models of the Mulberry bridges that were so important an setting up the artificial harbor and supply lines.












And, in Bayeux, famous for its magnificent tapestry, we found the British cemetery.

The inscription on the top of the entrance is particularly ironic and evidence of both dry Brit humor and of a long memory.  It references the conquest of England by William of Normandy in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings and says (translated from Latin):  We who were conquered by William have now liberated the country of the conqueror.  Double-click on the photo below to see a close-up of the inscription.

British Cemetery at Bayeau:
NOS A GUILIELMO VINCTI VICTORIS PATRIAM LIBERAVIMUS

1 comment:

  1. I definitely want to visit some day - it looks so peaceful now, so far removed from what happened on that day 68 years ago. Thanks for this 'virtual' tour - I hope to make it in person soon!

    ReplyDelete

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