The Battle on the Beaches of Normandy, June 6, 1944:
Omaha beach had 34,250 soldiers; Utah Beach had 23, 250 soldiers and 15,500 air borne troops. The battle of Normandy lasted 14 hours, and left thousands of Americans and allies dead in that single battle.
As we walked down to the beaches of Normandy on June 6, we heard birds chirping and singing and remarked how on the same morning 69 years ago their world exploded with deafening cannon fire, roaring planes, and the relentless repetition of machine guns.
When you see this plot you think there are a lot of soldiers buried here, for sure, but then you look at the map and realize that there are seven more plots just as big as the one you are looking at here! My Dad flew a glider in the first wave of this invasion, which began at midnight. He survived Normandy, but was killed in Tours, France two months before the war ended.
Many of the crosses had small flags attached. These were crosses erected for the unknown soldiers who died that day. To be here on this historic day trying to relive the account of the event is truly a sobering experience.
However, it gave us a great sense of pride sharing the expressions of appreciation from the French people, who were liberated.
These were people that we met walking up the stairs from the beach. One couple was from France and the other from New Zealand. When I told them about my Dad, the French people on the right in the picture expressed their thankfulness to me for my Dad’s sacrifice on their behalf.
They told us that many French people, including the younger generations, make pilgrimages here every year at this time to pay homage for the liberation that the American soldiers and their allies brought to their country.