Tears and Fears at the American Cemetery, Normandy

We visited the American cemetery which is the final resting place for many American soldiers who died in WW2. Over 10,000 soldiers are either buried or missing in action here. It is a sobering sight to see all the rows of white crosses.

The American cemetery has a visitors centre with a plush cinema showing different films about WW2. There was security on entry to the building, causing a long queue at the door due to several school trips. Outside there is a reflection pool inscribed with a map of the Normandy beach landings (photo above). You can see the landing beaches – from west to east, Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword. This cemetery is near to Omaha beach.

Inside the cemetery the large memorial contains large maps, showing the battles fought in WW2, with a large lily pond in front.

There was a small white chapel with a beautiful inscription saying:-

“This chapel has been erected by the United States of America in grateful memory of her sons who gave their lives in the landings on the Normandy beaches and in the liberation of northern France. Their graves are the permanent and visible symbol of their heroic devotion and their sacrifice in the common cause of humanity”.

Reading this made me feel really angry and emotional at the state of the world today. We can never take peace for granted. Look at all these men who died. This is a human tragedy. Each cross represents not only the soldier buried there, but the grief of wives, children, parents, siblings. It is hard to comprehend the pain and suffering on a human level of this generation, caused by WW2. This should be a lesson in the effects of war, in case anyone needs a reminder. We need to not forget the “common cause of humanity”.

The cemetery was a peaceful and emotional place. We strolled back along the tree-lined path with views of the sea. My BF said this cemetery is in Saving Private Ryan too. Apparently there used to be a path down to the beach but this was closed a couple of years ago for security reasons.

Next blog: Port En Bessin, France

Previous blog: Omaha beach, France

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