Wednesday, June 6, 2012

To the Beaches and Then the Cemeteries

Normandy, France.  As we walked to Sword, Utah and Omaha beaches, my first act was to take a photo of the footprints in the sand.  How similar and yet how different they must look from that dreadful day.  For me, this simple picture on sandy steps represents so much having to do with sacrifice and freedom 68 years ago today.

Designed by Anilore Banon, Les Braves Polynational War Memorial on Omaha Beach near St-Laurent-sur-Mer, was installed on the 60th anniversary of D-Day.

Peaceful ride along Omaha Beach

Houses now situated along Omaha Beach and the bunker-heavy cliffs behind them.

This photo indicates how wide Omaha Beach is during lower tides and how perilous it would be to try to cross it while being shot at.

Hundreds of deep craters remain at Pointe du Hoc, illustrating the intensity of the bombing raids and scores of bunkers still stand.

View from inside a bunker.

Tourists watch men dressed as soldiers of the day.

A 1940s-era C47 troop transport plane flies over Pointe du Hoc...

...And near a peace symbol.

Many roads in the region bear informal names of soldiers killed during the fighting.

Markers similar to this denote the Liberty Road.

Some of the battlefields between the hedgerows are now fields of wildflowers.

Part of the peace park outside the German Cemetery.

Albert Schweitzer's quote, "Wargraves are the great communicators of peace..." is so true, for those paying deep attention.

This quote by Erich Kästner, found in the museum of the German Cemetery, is quite profound: "Do not believe you have millions of enemies.  Your only enemy is called War!"

Rows of black crosses and red stone markers in the German Cemetery.

This sign reads, "Until 1947, this was an American cemetery.  The remains were exhumed and shipped to the United States.  It has been German since 1948 and contains over 21,000 graves.  With its melancholy rigour, it is a graveyard for soldiers not all of whom had chosen either the cause or the fight.  They too have found rest in our soil of France."

The new American Cemetery overlooking the coastline of France and the English Channel.


  1. Very moving post. Thank you.

  2. Die ersten zwei Fotos gefallen mir besonders. Sehr gut!!!

    1. Thank you very much. I like the first two photos as well. Thanks for writing. Vielen dank!