Remembering D-Day

Sainte Mere Eglise window

“To the memory of those who through their sacrifice liberated Sainte-Mère-Église.”

From atop the cliffs, looking down onto a portion of the D-Day beaches.

D-Day Beaches

The summer of 2003, my family toured Normandy where, 59 years before, American, Canadian, and British forces landed along a 50-mile stretch of coast in the quest to liberate German-occupied France.

We visited war memorials and monuments. We viewed Omaha Beach from atop 150-foot cliffs where remains of German gun emplacements and bunkers still stand, and we came to understand why the US 29th Infantry Division suffered such massive losses. We saw La Pointe du Hoc, the 115-foot wall of rock overlooking the beaches that claimed the lives of of all but 90 of 225 US Rangers who scaled it to capture the German battery on top. And we visited the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, where rows of perfectly aligned white crosses mark the graves of 9,387 American soldiers.

WWII German Bunkers

Remnants of German gun emplacements.

We also spent time in the small village of Sainte-Mère-Église, the first town liberated in France. Within the village’s 11th century church, two stained-glass windows are dedicated to the liberators: American paratroopers of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. One of the two windows, pictured above, depicts Saint Michael, the patron saint of paratroopers. It was dedicated in 1972, at the 28th anniversary of D-Day. The inscription at the bottom reads: “To the memory of those who through their sacrifice liberated Sainte-Mère-Église.”

Pointe du Hoc

Pointe du Hoc

Visiting this area was an eye-opening and emotional experience. No amount of book-reading or movie-viewing is as powerful in understanding the enormity of what these brave men did as is seeing with your own eyes the landscapes they encountered that day.  Seeing the beaches, the cliffs, the remnants of gun batteries, and rows upon rows of white crosses standing solemnly atop bright green grass are memories that will stay with me forever.

It is with gratitude to these brave men, on the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, that I dedicate this post. The white crosses aligned in rows against deep green grass and deep blue ocean.

8 thoughts on “Remembering D-Day

  1. What a band of Brothers. 4500 Allied soldiers gave their lives on the first day alone. True bravery and should be an inspiration for generations to come.

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  2. Thank You Stacy, My Father was in the 82nd Airborn Division, He was a paratrooper and lucky fortunate to survive. Thank You and to all the Brave Souls Who Gave Their Lives to Make the Ultimate Sacrifice. Paul LoNigro

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    • Oh, Paul, your reply just stopped me in my tracks when I read it. I’m praying your father is still with us so that you can express my eternal thanks to him for his bravery. If he is not, I’m sending my prayers upward. Thank you so very, very much for your comment.

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