Normandy, France “Our D-day Adventure”

Posted on January 18th, 2015 by

Today was an incredible adventure to the Normandy region of France. The region now famous for the infamous D-day invasion on June 6th, 1944. Where a coalition of English, American, and Canadian troops landed on the beaches of Normandy with the attempt to drive the Nazi regime out of France and begin the grueling task of ending WWII. The Americans landed on the Utah and Omaha beaches; Omaha in particular was the most dangerous and deadly of the beaches. This is where we would start our day at the America cemetery at Omaha beach.

The American cemetery was truly a site to see, with over 9,000 American soldiers buried there from the D-day invasion, the site gives off an aura of courage and self-sacrifice. One of the first sites you see as you walk through the trimmed tree entrance is a semi-circle arch courtyard with a magnificent statue of “The Picture of American Youth,” dedicated to the young soldiers who gave there lives to liberate France.


Behind the statue courtyard is a wall that bears the names of all the American soldiers who are still considered missing to this day. A rosette is placed next to the names of those now recovered; however, of the many names on the entirety of the long wall only 15 people have been found since 1944 from the wall.


After that we visited the visitor center filled with information about the invasion and the intense planning and work it took to execute such an incredible feet. In fact, we even learned that the U.S. had tricked the Nazis into believing that the U.S. would invade at other places thus diverting Nazi attention away from Normandy. When we finished the visitor center visit many walked around the cemetery to pay their respects at the graves, see the immense Omaha beach, and see first hand the landscape that these young soldiers had to fight on in order to liberate Normandy.


The above pictures show the immense and sacred nature of this place. The grave markers are either Latin crosses for the Christian soldiers or a star of David for the Jewish soldiers. In the middle of the cemetery is a small chapel, this is where the cross in the window picture comes from. This is a holy place to pay respects to the fallen soldiers who fought for the freedoms of all the world. Not only is this chapel Christian, but also a place for people of the Jewish faith to express their respects as well for the fallen soldiers as expressed by the wall writing on the side of the chapel with a picture of the Torah.

All in all, this part of our day was a somber moment of remembrance. For which we all appreciated greatly and will keep in our hearts and minds forever.


The next step on our tour of Normandy was further down Omaha beach where we were able to get out of the bus right next to the beach and take some pictures. It was amazing to be that close to the beach, but to think of all of the lives lost out there was a little rattling. I can’t imagine living in one of those houses along there and knowing what occurred right outside my front door. I’m not really sure I could do that.


Next we arrived a little further down Omaha beach where it was dreadfully obvious a battle had occurred. The holes in the ground were so deep down it became difficult to comprehend how much explosives it would take to create such a hole AND THERE WERE SO MANY OF THEM! Myself (Jake) and Aaron know this better then anyone; for because it was raining it happened to be a tad muddy and therefore slippery. We learned this the hard way when we both fell in to our respective bomb holes and were covered in mud! I wish the pictures of us had saved because we had to look just ridiculous.

that hole tho

The most astounding thing to me while we were there was when we looked out of the viewpoint at the Point du Hoc for pictures. You could see the cliffs that the allied soldiers had to climb while dodging not only German fire but also the fire from their own ships. The fact that our forces were even able to overtake this land without just being picked off was definitely eye opening. It is one thing to read about the invasion of occupied France in a text book but it was a completely different to see it in person. These cliffs were large enough that I am not sure I could even climb them without a battle going on around me. It really made me thankful for everything that our troops do in every war not just WWII.


Today was and heavy day but was very eye opening. We are really glad we were able to see such historically important places and learn a little along the way. I (Jake) know for sure that I can’t wait to get back to the states to tell my grandpa all about it.

-Jake Anderson and Sean Hinnenkamp



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