Monday, December 28, 2009

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." Winston Churchill

The Normandie American Cemetery and Memorial...

Miles Glidden was the brother of a very dear friend of hubby went to Manila a few years ago and went to the American Cemetery where Miles is buried. He was able to take a picture of the actual grave marker after the attendant had darkened the name with sand so that it could be read. Here at the Normandie Memorial they had this computerized data base that showed the location of any soldier buried in any of the American Cemeteries throughout the world.

Omaha Beach...the code name for one of the landing sites of the Allied invasion of German occupied France, June 6, 1944...

The American Cemetery...

A powerfully moving experience...

The final resting place for 9,387 soldiers and personnel involved in D-Day and the ensuing operations which began the march to victory in the European stage of World War II....

Utah Beach...the code name for the westernmost flank of the Allied invasion...

I'm sure you have noticed the deep rolling pits in the ground...these pits are from the bombs that landed here during the invasion...

If you've seen Saving Private Ryan...imagine the invasion scene on this and Omaha beach...

St. Mere Eglise was the first town to be liberated.
The parachute and mannequin represent paratrooper John Steele who parachuted during the invasion and was caught on this church's steeple where he hung for over 2 hours. He was later captured and taken prisoner in a German camp, from which he eventually escaped. Some of you may remember the movie The Longest Day in which Red Buttons played the part of the paratrooper...

The paratroopers are commemorated in the beautiful window of this small and unassuming church...

Approximately 30 years ago I visited Dachau in Munich...I will never forget the impact of that experience. There were probably about 25 people total in the camp during the time that I was there, yet everyone walked alone while experiencing the horrific setting. It was a very sobering and painful experience. I say painful, because I could literally feel the pain emanating from the soil and walls of the camp. My experience at Omaha and Utah beaches was very different. While it was also very sobering, there was a tremendous sense of victory and gratitude for the sacrifice that each individual made for our country and for peace in our world.

Our next stop...Vigo Spain...


  1. Normandy has some of the most beautiful farms -- farm estates, really -- I've ever seen. I have a rock and an acorn or from one of my walks down a country lane. They are treasured possessions.

    First time I took a train to Normandy in the 90's, couldn't figure out what all those American tanks were doing in the middle of village squares.

    AND, my favorite hotel in the whole world is Hotel de Normandie in Avranches. A simple place with the most incredible food I've ever eaten.

  2. Driving through Normandie to get to the Omaha and Utah Beaches was pure pleasure...absolutely beautiful countryside...definitely an area to return to for a long and leisurely visit...I'm going to remember your recommendation for Hotel Normandie...

  3. It seems peaceful now, but the memories
    of the few soldiers still living are sad
    and tearful. So many died so that we could
    live free. It's an eternal debt that we will
    never repay. They wouldn't except or expect
    anything in payment because they are part of
    us and we are part of them. America, land of the free!

  4. DD...freedom is not easily achieved and is often easily misunderstood... it comes with a tremendous responsibility...part of which is to honor those who have paid the ultimate price while securing our freedom...
    it really was an honor to visit these soldier's final resting place...

  5. This is so very moving. We've all seen the raw film footage of the D-Day invasion along those beaches. It's hard to believe what actually happened there.

    My father was in the Army Air Corps, a nosegunner stationed in Okinawa during the last, brutal surge of WW2. My husband's Japanese mother was held in an internment camp during this same time, her family originally from the same area where my father dropped bombs. When I look at my little daughter -- descendant of both American and Japanese -- it is makes the whole concept of war seem truly surreal.

    I recommend Eugene Sledge's book With the Old Breed as the most powerful memoir of an infantryman grappling with duty, hardship and fighting to retain his humanity and honor in the face of abject horror. It takes place in Okinawa and Pelilieu, but I think his experience is one shared by each of the men who fought so hard on all the front lines of that war.

  6. One day I'll learn how to spell Normandie.

  7. Every American should have the opportunity to visit one of our military cemeteries in foreign lands. I've had the opportunity to do so in France and the Philippines and was struck by the peace, solitude, beauty, but most of all, the tremendous symbolism of what our country has sacrificed to maintain peace and freedom throughout the world. The experience is emotional and inspirational.

  8. A moving post, Chieftess. I've never visited this part of France but I'd love to go there. I'm moved by the French gratitude, and I certainly have my own.

    Happy new year to you.

  9. Ditto my above betters!
    Leaves me only to say to you, Chief: I wanna be you in 2010! Happy New Yr!!

  10. Aw shucks Cafe!!! Thank you!!! You made my day!!!

  11. You have done a marvelous job with this photo essay. Just beautifully done.


  12. I'm speechless V...I consider this the highest of praise coming from you, the quintessential photojournalist/blogger!!! Thank you!

  13. Very sobering! We can not imagine what anyone experiencing WWll went through.


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