Wednesday/ Normandy, Our Comrades in Arms

It was a long day, but interesting to see the Normandy beaches made famous by the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944.  Our tour guide was Amelié (a very French name, and she spoke with a very French accent).  Our first stop was at the village of Arromanche, where the temporary harbour and vehicle landing strips were built.  The British landed there. Then we stopped at the large American Normandy Cemetery and Memorial that overlooks Omaha beach.    It’s actually American property, given to the USA by the French government.   Then we made a stop down at the Omaha beach and one more at Utah beach.  We had one World War II veteran in the group (you have to be  say, 85 or older if you were a young man at the end of the war).

So .. the voyage around the British Isles is coming to an end!  Tonight it’s packing up, and off to Southampton and directly to Heathrow airport from there for the  flight back to Seattle.

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We are sailing out of the port of Le Havre. The captain sounded the cruise ship’s horn three times, each long and extended. On the breakwater, below the black and white smokestack, there was a group of people waving at us (at me?) .. it made me smile, and I waved back with both arms.
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This figure is “Spirit of American Youth Rising From the Waves” by Donald DeLue, 1949. The inscription on the arch reads ‘This embattled shore, portal of freedom, is forever hallowed by the ideals, the valor and the sacrifices of our fellow countrymen’. There is a group of touring school kids in front of the memorial. The park ranger played a recording of the Star-Spangled Banner in a simply chime seemed very fitting, and then she called for a minute of silence.
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This gravestone made me teary-eyed .. it has no name on like the others and simply says ‘Here rests in honoured glory a comrade in arms known but to God’.
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This is Utah beach where some of the Americans made their entry for D-Day. The inset picture is of a bunker on the top of the cliff. Maybe the landscape looked a little different in 1944; the cliffs here look very hard to scale by foot or with equipment !
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The beach at Arromanche. So this is Gold Beach where the British forces made their landing for D-Day.
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Here is a map (it was actually my lunch plate’s mat at the Hotel Normandy) that shows the beaches used for the Normandy landings. The left inset is the cover of a graphic documentary book of the events from the museum store. The inset on the right shows a window from a restaurant in Arromanche; ‘Welcome to our Liberators’ says the text.

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