Monday, November 12, 2012

American Cemetery Normandy France

American Cemetery & Memorial Normandy France (click for album)

On June 8, 1944, the U.S. First Army established the temporary cemetery, the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II.  This marker is placed at the location of the first cemetery.

After the war, the present-day cemetery was established a short distance to the east of the original site. The cemetery is located on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach (one of the landing beaches of the Normandy Invasion) and the English Channel.

It covers 172 acres, and contains the remains of 9,387 American military dead, most of whom were killed during the invasion of Normandy and ensuing military operations in World War II. Included are graves of Army Air Corps crews shot down over France as early as 1942.

Like all other overseas American cemeteries in France for World War I and II, France has granted the United States a special, perpetual concession to the land occupied by the cemetery, free of any charge or any tax. This cemetery is managed by the American government, under Congressional acts that provide yearly financial support for maintaining them, with most military and civil personnel employed abroad. The U.S. flag flies over these granted soils.  When you are in the cemetery you are on U.S. soil, just like you would be at an embassy in a foreign land.


We have had the good fortune of cruising to many historic destinations in Europe.  Perhaps none have been as moving as the time we spent in Normandy, France.  My dad was among the troops that attempted to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day.  His tank was sunk and he was rescued so that he could storm the beach again and later fight in other battles, like the Battle of the Bulge.

He never spoke of the war, and the only way that I learned about his bravery in battle was through his brother who also served during the great war.   They are both gone now, but their memory, and memories of so many others, are honored by this sacred ground near a beach in  France.

One of my fondest memories of my dad was a story my mom told me about the time they had the opportunity to return to Normandy.  My dad wasn't one to show his emotions, but when they visited the grave of his commander, he broke down and cried.   Hopefully he met up with his CO in heaven now and they are enjoying a pint of beer on this Veterans Day 2012.

The generation that fought in that war are all but gone now.   If you still have someone you know that lived through that time, and fought for their country, first of all, thank them for what they did and then learn what you can from them.    I encourage you to travel to France, and other parts of Europe, to the great battlefields and visit the various cemeteries and memorials.  For more images, see our Facebook fan page.

Thank You To All the Past and Present Men & Women Serving in the Armed Forces

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