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  • bethstephenson123

the Do or Die Day wasn't so long ago that the French don't remember.

D-day finally came. June 6 1944 8 allied nations united to end the Nazi tyranny over Europe and hopefully put a quick end to the war. (Be sure to open the link and read General Eisenhower's letter to the D-day troops at the end of the post.)

The sheer size of the operation was awe inspiring. Over 7000 ships participated and nearly 133,000 troops landed at Normandy on D-day. By the time the invasion was done on June 30th, over 850,000 troops had landed with over half a million tons of supplies and ammunition.

But the Germans were well entrenched and the loss of life, especially to the early landers, was staggering. 10,300 of those allied troops became casualties (how I hate that word! Loss of life or limb or function is anything but casual!) during the landing that went on until the end of June.

Nearby, the solemn cemetery reminds us of the price of freedom.

I did NOT expect to find memorials, museums and monuments built and maintained by the French People.

The Americans drove the Nazis out of nearby Bayeux. But rather than charge their tanks down the narrow streets, they quickly built a ring road to protect the infrastructure. That ring road is the main thoroughfare in (and around) Bayeax today! Here are some photos from this quaint Normandy region town.

One of those ice cream cones is Jeff's, I swear! (This was 2021)

We stayed in Bayeux and drove to the beaches and cemeteries of Normandy. Here is what the site for "Operation Overlord looks like today.

This is Pointe Du Hoc. The 5th Ranger Battalion landed here first and scaled the cliffs to clear out the Nazi cannons.

Many parts of these cliffs overlooking the Normandy beaches are covered in bomb craters, now overgrown.

museum depiction of the soldiers running up the beach from an amphibious vehicle

The Germans were well-dug in along the Normandy shore. One sight was buried over by time and blackberry brambles until a farmer noticed some unusual constructions underground. Once the site was uncovered, they found stone bunkers, offices, barracks, a mess hall, as well as heavy artillery, shells and other armaments. Now it's a museum site you can tour like a maze for a few dollars.

Though General Eisenhower's hope (and prayer) was that this massive invasion would put a swift end to the war, it would be 11 months before the unconditional surrender was signed by the Germans. Here is the letter General Eisenhower sent out to thousands of nervous soldiers D-day morning. (From the Eisenhower museum) Follow this link to see the original document from the Eisenhower museum

People around America are tearing down monuments, claiming national guilt should overpower the great, honorable and heroic in our past. But in Normandy, France, the Americans are still freedom-loving, self-sacrificing, heroes. I'm proud to be an American!

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