Thursday, June 7, 2012

Remembering D-Day

Omaha Beach in Normandy
Omaha Beach
The steep cliffs above Omaha Beach
68 years ago yesterday, the D-Day Invasion began along the beaches of Normandy, France.  "June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foot- hold in Normandy. The D-Day cost was high -more than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded -- but more than 100,000 Soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler."

This was an incredible day in the history of World War II.  It has been portrayed numerous times on the big screen in Hollywood.  However, nothing compares to actually going to Normandy and seeing what the troops had to endure on that day.  I was fortunate to have been able to go to Normandy in 2009.  My husband is a World War II history buff and he was an excellent guide on our trip.  Seeing the steep cliffs and knowing that the troops were facing hostile gun fire from the Germans above was quite impressive.  It is even more poignant walking through the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial knowing that most the troops buried there fought in the D-Day battle and will forever rest near the place they lost their lives.  It is truly a moving place.

Another impressive place to visit in the Normandy area is Pointe du Hoc.  This is where the German's had built casements to house captured French 155mm guns.  This area is still riddled with the craters of bombs that exploded during the D-Day invasion.

The beach below Pointe du Hoc
Old casement
The craters left by bombs
Seeing the history of Normandy and the effects of the D-Day invasion really makes you thankful for the sacrifice the soldiers made on June 6, 1944.

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