WWII - The Beaches at Normandy

We spent Easter Sunday paying our respects to the veterans of World War II that liberated France by storming the beaches of Normandy.  Our first stop was Pegasus Bridge.  The Pegasus Bridge Cafe has the distinction of being the first house liberated during the D-Day invasion.
We walked across the bridge (a replica of the original which now sits in the nearby museum) and along the canal.
We stopped at Arromanches 360° to watch a video recreating what it must have like when the Allies landed.
After the movie, we walked down the hill to Arromanches.
A tank stands guard on a platform just above the town.
Down near the water, you can still see some debris from the temporary floating harbor that the Allies installed to support the invasion.  The beach is also littered with hazards put in place by the Nazis to repel the Allies' advance.
Heavy artillery stands by -- a sharp contrast to the carousel behind.
It was raining quite hard so we had an in-car picnic lunch featuring baguette, Camembert, and calvados flavored preserves.
At the end of the parking lot, I braved the elements to get a picture of this sweeping field of mustard flowers.
Next up, we stopped at the German coastal battery at Longues-sur-Mer.  Staged not far from the shore and anchored in concrete, the artillery was fearsome.
We took a few moments to reflect on the loss of life inflicted by this battery before heading onward to the American cemetery.  Overlooking the water, it's sobering to see the crosses lined up in perfectly formed rows.  Occasional Jewish stars stand out.

Not everyone was identified.  This cross remembers: here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known but to God.
The scale of the place is immense.  Almost 10,000 people are buried here.
Today, the place is so peaceful.  Looking down, we could see kite runners plying the sand.
A monument anchors one end of the cemetery.

A mosaic outlining the course of of the European battles of WWII (much like we saw at the Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery in Honolulu) lined the inside of the monument.
We finished the day with a walk on Omaha Beach.  A metal sculpture with sharp lines stands out on the beach.
We walked along the streams winding in the low tide.
The sand stood in peaceful ripples.  It was sobering to stand in this spot where so many men had lost their lives in the name of liberty less than 70 years ago.
A heavy concrete pillar commemorates The Allied Forces Landing on this Shore They Call Omaha Beach Liberate Europe June 6, 1944.
We quietly reflected on all we'd seen on the journey back to Caen.



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Sidewalk Safari: WWII - The Beaches at Normandy
WWII - The Beaches at Normandy
Sidewalk Safari
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