Utah beach at sunset, November 2009. Many of the booby traps set by the German army remain on display.
It is humbling at the very least to visit the Norman coast of France and stand on the beaches where the allies landed on June 6, 1944. The beaches are more often than not referred to by their wartime code names that include Omaha, Utah, Juno, Gold and Sword. We call it the invasion, the French call it La Libération...you see they had already been invaded by Germany and now the allies from the United States, England, Canada and many countries arrived to stop the enemy. They were successful but at a great price. Over 100,000 soldiers and many innocent citizens lost their lives as this allied foothold in Europe was established. I doubt anyone has stood on these gorgeous, peaceful beaches and not imagined the horror that occurred in our parents' and grandparents' lifetime. The sacrifice was immense and is recognized daily by the towns such as St. Lo, Caen, Bayeux, Arromanches and many more. It is moving to see how many businesses and private french homes display not only the French bleu, blanc, rouge flag but they also fly the American red white and blue Flag. Visiting Normandie has forever changed the way I see life and death. When you tour the landmarks and museums you wonder over and over and over why make a war? No one wins it. Peace is the answer.
The Cemetery and Museum are on American soil within Normandy.
We were fortunate enough to be in Bayeux on Veterans's Day where the cardinal said a mass in honor of le Débarquement et Bataille de Normandie. Many countries were represented by the veterans holding flags in the ceremony.