Thursday, May 10, 2018

Normandy Beaches

The kids and Mat are on a long weekend holiday due to Ascension.  We had planned a trip for this weekend to Normandy, France over this weekend, and we excited to check it out.  Arlington has been studying it at school and wanted to see it for herself.  And I had a great uncle (my grandfather's brother) who was killed in St. Lo right outside of Normandy during WWII and shortly after D-Day.  So the trip meant a lot to all of us.

We left yesterday after Mat had a half day at work, and drove to Normandy.  The ride was about 7 hours.  We decided to rent a car because we wanted to visit several places that were not easily accessible by train or public transport.  We don't get to drive or even ride in a car often these days, so it was nice.

Today we explored the beaches in Normandy.  We went to Utah Beach, Omaha Beach and Juno Beach.  Utah and Omaha are the beaches that were stormed by the Americans and where the most lives were lost.  Juno was the beach that was stormed by the Canadians.  We also went to Pointe De Hoc where Americans scaled the cliffs to attack the Germans.

It was a humbling experience along gorgeous beaches and French cliffs. 

Our Airbnb.  We stayed in Caen which was between the places we wanted to visit.  This building was built in the 1700s and was gorgeous inside.
 Memorial for the Americans on Omaha Beach
 Flags from all the countries who participated in the war flew on the beach

 Scuplture built right on the beach as a memorial.  25,000 American Soldiers lost their lives on this beach
 Omaha beach was beautiful.  The cliffs and the long stretches of beach were untouched.

 We saw a couple riding these neat carriages pulled by horses along the beach
 This hill area is where the Germans hid and waited for the Americans to come onto the beach.  They definitely had the advantage.

 This bunker was run by the Germans.  The Americans bombed it and took it over and started getting their soldiers to this area from the beaches.  From here, they could get behind the Germans and attack them that way.

 We walked to the top of the hills where the Germans hid

 View from the hills down to the bunker
 We visited the American Cemetery while in Omaha Beach.  9000 American soldiers are buried here - and 1000 names are listed as the missing.  The rest of the soldiers were sent home to be buried by their families.

 View from the Omaha Cemetery.   They are buried not far from where they fell

 These metal pieces were placed on the beaches by the Germans to prevent the Americans from rolling tanks on the beach
 These were the boats that were dropped onto the beaches and released the soldiers

 The following pictures are from Pointe du Hoc, where the Americans scaled the cliffs to get to the Germans.  The germans were hiding in all of these holes all over the top of the cliff. 

 The cliffs were incredible

 Inside one of the few remaining bunkers.  This one was quite large
 Juno Beach
 Beach huts on Juno Beach

 This is a memorial for the Canadians because when they showed up on Juno Beach, they showed up on their bicycles.
 On our drive home we saw fields and fields of yellow flowers

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