We Visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
Visiting the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
For a thinking person, visiting the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is a formidable undertaking as you stand on the very ground where thousands of American boys sacrificed their lives to bring freedom to the European continent.
I snapped the panorama above and the staggering number of crosses commemorating the dead leaves a very somber first impression.
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is located in Colleville-sur-Mer, on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944 as the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. The cemetery site, at the north end of its half mile access road, covers 172.5 acres and contains the graves of 9,385 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. On the Walls of the Missing, in a semicircular garden on the east side of the memorial, are inscribed 1,557 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.
The memorial consists of a semicircular colonnade with a loggia at each end containing large maps and narratives of the military operations; at the center is the bronze statue, “Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves.” An orientation table overlooking the beach depicts the landings in Normandy. Facing west at the memorial, one sees in the foreground the reflecting pool; beyond is the burial area with a circular chapel and, at the far end, granite statues representing the United States and France (via Normandy American Cemetary website).
We were visiting the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial on a full-day excursion as we sailed with Avalon Waterways on the River Seine from Paris to Normandy and back.
Our memory of visiting the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is one that is certain to stick with us for many years to come. And particularly when I combine it with the memories of standing on Omaha Beach and the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc overlooking the beaches below.
If you have the opportunity to visit the Normandy Beaches, we highly recommend it. To explore the various ways that one might visit the Normandy Beaches, CLICK HERE.
For more information about a vacation that includes the Normandy Beaches, please call Roaming Boomers Travel Services at (480) 550-1235 or use our convenient online information request (click here) and we’ll reach out to you.
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