Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thankful Thursday - The Beaches of Normandy

While in France, we took a side trip to Normandy to see the beaches of Normandy.  While I have family that served during WWII, none were involved in D-day.  Still, we thought this would be an interesting trip to make.

We started out on Gold Beach - one of the beaches that the UK troops landed on.  The beach ( more like a cliff) was protected by Coastal Gun Batteries that could fire on approaching ships.  These concrete structures had been the target of advance air raids by the allies, but were sturdy enough that they withstood the attacks and are still largely intact 69 years later.

Then on to Omaha Beach - a three mile stretch of beach that US troops landed on.  Before the German occupation, as it is now, it is a resort area.  But, between 1940-1944 it was protected by obstacles, mines, and gun batteries.  These gun batteries were different - they fired at a angle to unsuspecting troops to one side or the other.


 Approximately 4000 people were killed on Omaha Beach.  The tide washed up blood and bodies for the next several days.  Because the troops were engaged in fighting, the dead were simply buried in nearby trenches.

We also visited Ponte du Hoc, a 100 foot tall cliff that was taken by the Rangers.  Here there were more Coastal gun batteries.

After the war was over, the dead were reinterred.  The families were given the choice of having the bodies shipped home for burial, or burial at one of the American Cemeteries in Normandy.  We visited one of these cemeteries, where nearly 9400 are buried.

I am thankful for all of those brave men who gave their lives in defense of freedom.  They are truly "The Greatest Generation".

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