Monday, May 18, 2015

Travel France: Normandy Beaches and World War II

The biggest attraction in Normandy, France are the beaches of Normandy where the Allied Forces of World War II landed to liberate the French and launch an attack against Nazi Germany.

For the most part the beaches now look benign, pretty in fact, with charming villages along the coastline, but there is still evidence of the fierce fighting that took place there from June to August 1944. German bunkers remain and sections of the temporary ports built by the Allied forces to move equipment still exist.

World War II is a topic that affects me emotionally because the war in the Pacific, in the Philippines in particular, affected numerous lives including my family.  I have always thought however that most people have forgotten World War II and its casualties. I was surprised and touched to see people laying bouquets of flowers on the markers of some dead soldiers buried in the American cemetery. I speculated that they are sons or grandsons of the fallen who have travelled far to honor their brave kin.

We visited the American War Memorial Museum in Bayeux, which was very informative.  After, we drove to the landing areas of the Normandy Beaches, which had been dubbed Omaha, Utah, Gold, Sword, and Juno Beaches in 1944.

We stopped at the memorial sights, in particular the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach with 9,000 dead.  One cannot help but be moved at the sight of all those white crosses and occasional Star of David. The markers show that many died in June and July of 1944, around the time of D-Day (June 6).

I could not help thinking of what they had thought or felt before they died. Were they fearful? Were they brave? And how would I have behaved under the same circumstances?

I simply have no idea how courageous or cowardly I would be.

It is something to think about especially when there are new wars, and lives of young men and women, and innocent civilians continue to be spent.

This is all for now. 

Read also
Dog in a Restaurant - Bistro des Artistes, Honfleur, France
Pilgrimage to Therese of Lisieux Sites
      Tags: travel, holiday, Normandy, France, Normandy Beaches, D-Day, World War II, WWII, Omaha Beach, Bayeux
      This is all for now

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