Then we went on to Utah Beach, which was the site of one of the American landings. Standing on an empty, peaceful beach it is hard to imagine the circumstances that the American soldiers faced here when they came ashore.Further down the coast, at the Pointe du Hoc was the most difficult landing. 225 specially trained US Rangers scaled the 30m cliffs and took the key German position. They then held it until help arrived 2 days later for the 90 survivors. Even today the ground is littered with craters from the battle. The bunker at the tip of the Point is barely above the ground. We have no idea how they managed to attack it, let alone capture it.
We went on to the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, near Omaha Beach. The cemetery is so large it would take an aerial photo to capture it all. Nearly 10,000 American soldiers are buried there. In the center of the cemetery is a small chapel. When we first entered the cemetery we thought that was the far end of it and were already overwhelmed at the number of graves. When we walked over to it, we realized we’d only seen half the graves.At one end of the cemetery stands a memorial with a statue called the “American Youth Rising from the Waves”. The inscription around the top of the memorial reads, “This embattled shore portal of freedom is forever hallowed by the ideals the valor and the sacrifices of our fellow countrymen.”