Point du Hoc/Omaha Beach

No matter how many times I make this trip, visiting Normandy will always be a highlight for me. To be able to actually stand where Allied soldiers fought and died for every inch of sand; to see the enormous bomb craters on the cliffs above the shore, concealed now by grass, but still revealing the the absolute horrific nature of war; to stand in the bunkers and pillboxes and get just a small sense of what it must have been like as a German soldier to see such an armada in front then, and the Herculean task the Americans, Brits, and Canadians undertook to take these perfectly situated defense positions; to observe the humongous pieces of concrete strewn around the perimeter of one of those craters, remnants of a pillbox that took a direct hit from a naval shell; to see Pointe du Hoc a bit down the coast and realize the impossibility of the Rangers’ mission to scale that cliff with bare hands and knives after their grappling hooks, ropes too heavy with water from the English Channel, couldn’t reach the top, and completing it anyway, because the alternative wasn’t an option...

The weather was fittingly foggy and with intermittent rain, not unlike June 6, 1944, which made the visit all the more authentic. Later in the day we’d visit the American Cemetery, but for me this graveyard had many more ghosts.


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