The next stop on our road trip was Omaha Beach, site of the beach landings in WW2 in Normandy, France which marked D-Day.
Today the beach is marked by a stunning sculpture called The Braves to signify hope, freedom, and fraternity. It is also a lovely wide sandy beach, which doesn’t give any clue of its dark past.
During the beach landings in June 1944, the Americans were landing on Omaha Beach, to link up with the other American beach landings at Utah beach to the west, and the British landings at Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches to the east. (See my next blog for more info on this and a map).
Anyone who has seen the start of Saving Private Ryan will have an image of the beach landings that took place here, and absolute horror that entailed. The moving video at the visitor centre at Pointe du Hoc contained testimony from the men describing the conditions on the landing crafts – imagine feeling sea sick for hours, vomiting, feeling utterly miserable as you miss family and home, it’s raining, and then you are shot at repeatedly so your fellow soldiers are being killed and injured all around. It sounds absolutely horrific; hell on earth.
As we know, despite the challenges, the troops did manage to land on the beaches on 6 June 1944 which we commemorate as D Day.
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