Saturday, June 06, 2009

June 6, 1944 - The Beaches of Normandy, France: American Cemetery and Memorial


The American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, is on the bluff above Omaha Beach. It honors American soldiers and airmen who lost their lives during the landing and fighting on this stretch of French beach that occurred 65 years ago today, on June 6, 1944. The 172-acre site contains perfectly straight rows of white crosses and the remains of 9,387 American military dead. We visited on November 1, 2006, and I took this picture (and the ones I have posted on Tampa Florida Photo.)

My father flew on this date, 65 years ago, from his base in England. He was a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps, 397th Bombardment Group (Medium), 598th Bombardment Squadron of the Ninth Air Force. He flew missions before June 6th and in support of the invasion. On the ceiling of the beautiful chapel, created in intricate and colorful tile mosaic, are winged angels, ships at sea and a B-26 aircraft just like the one my father flew--the Martin B-26 Marauder Medium Bomber. Trained as a pilot of the fastest medium bomber in World War II--he flew 65 combat missions during World War II. All of the graves here face westward, towards the United States. It is an incredible place to experience, and when we were there it was filled with French men, women and families paying their respects. A bus from Germany, with young German soldiers, was also there touring the beach area. I will never forget walking on the sand of Omaha Beach and trying to imagine what that day was like so many years ago for those who were there and gave their lives for freedom.

8 comments:

Jacob said...

Thanks, Frank. A truly superb post on this anniversary of D-Day. Kudos to your father for his service!

I lost a would-be uncle aboard one of the Navy ships in the armada...

Babooshka said...

Such a powerful poignant image.

Tash said...

I cannot even begin to imagine what the invasion was like - even after seeing "Privite Ryan". Great tribute. We go to Palm Springs Air Museum about once a year and always enjoy meeting the veterans there and hearing their stories. All of them were kids of 17 or 18 when they joined. Your father flew an amazing number of missions. I am not very familiar with B-26 - does not get as much publicity - but did look it up on Wikip.

B Squared said...

Hopefully, never again. Unfortunately, history is not on my side.

Hilda said...

Too many wars, too many people to remember. And the sad thing is, we still haven't learned. Some thanks… :'(

this too will pass said...

a remarkable day; a great photo

Corker2 said...

Thanks for commenting on my Post.

This image of all that have fallen is really very good. Wish that I could see it for myself, but don't think I ever will. You were lucky to see this place in person.

My "THANK YOU" to your Father for his Service during that time. I always have and will continue to remember those who gave so much during WWII.

Joan said...

This is a beautiful entry and photo. Thanks.