In October 2013, I had the privilege of paying my respects at many of the D-day sites and memorials in Normandy, France. It was only by being there that I began to appreciate the scale, audacity, and horror of that fateful enterprise launched on the morning of June 6, 1944.

Sites visited:

  1. The church steeple and memorial to paratrooper John Steele in Saint Mere Eglise.
  2. Arromanches. Code named Gold Beach, and home to the artificial harbor christened Port Winston, remnants of which remain to this day. The Arromanche360 museum immerses you in the chaos and horror of the invasion in sound and image.
  3. The German Gun Batteries at Longues Sur Mer are battle-scarred, but remain largely intact. Enter a bunker and imagine the disbelief and terror of the German soldiers seeing the approaching Armada.
  4. Point du Hoc. Where American Army Rangers scaled the treacherous cliffs under fire to overtake the German heavy guns.
  5. The American Cemetery at Colleville-Sur-Mer. Countless crosses and stars of David, many nameless.
  6. The British Commonwealth Cemetery in Bayeux. make sure to read the inscriptions.
  7. The German Cemetery at La Cambe. A reminder that there were victims on both sides of the conflict.
  8. Omaha Beach. Walk the beach and visit the memorial museum which preserves the history of, and houses important artifacts from, the invasion. The gut-wrenching, first-hand accounts of the veterans are particularly worth your time and attention.

Standing on hallowed ground where so many gave so much was beyond sobering. The experience filled me with the most intense gratitude and profound humility… and moved me to tears on several occasions. I hope that this photo essay does justice to these sentiments, as it recognizes and remembers the uncommon courage and ultimate sacrifice of those who fought there.

Before viewing the photographs below, please take two minutes to read a particularly moving excerpt from Ernie’s War.

6 Replies to “Normandy D-Day Sites”

  1. We recently came back from a trip to France and Italy that included three days in Normandy. Like you, my intention was to do something I had thought about since I was a kid some 50 years ago. That was to pay my respect to the incredibly brave men who fought and died during the D-Day invasion. It was a moving experience for me. We visited the invasion beaches, Pointe du hoc St. Mere Eglise and the American Cemetery. Driving along the coast road were numerous reminders and memorials to the soldiers and paratroopers who took part in the invasion fighting. I brought back a handful of sand from Dog Green sector of Omaha Beach. It was so peaceful and beautiful I could only strain to imagine what the landing must have been like.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for checking in, Frank, and for sharing your thoughts and feelings. It’s good to know that there are people like you who value and are moved by such experiences, as painful as they might be. All the best to you in travels and life. Peace.

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