Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Honoring our military veterans: For their service here and in foreign lands

I visited the American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, in November 2006. It is on the bluff above Omaha Beach and has a breathtaking view. It overlooks the area where troops of the U.S. Army, 1st Division and 29th Division, landed on D-Day, June 6, 1944 . It honors American soldiers and airmen who lost their lives during the landing and fighting on this stretch of French beach. Airmen who flew missions from English bases, as fighter and bomber pilots and crews, and the men who flew gliders and transports, are also buried here. The 172-acre site contains perfectly straight rows of white crosses and the remains of 9,387 American military dead. To look out over these crosses is a humbling experience. It leaves you speechless. I felt tremendous respect for each of these lives lost in service to our country. We honor these veterans today along with every man and woman who serves today, and those who have fought and died all over the world in defense of our freedom and liberty.


  1. Thank you, Frank, for such a beautiful and meaningful image today.

  2. I was there a few years ago as well, I've visited alot of the cemeteries in France and Belgium. It is interesting to see the national differences in these cemeteries and the way the US, Britain, France & Germany all have different approaches to the way it is done. The US has a tradition for repatriating the bodies, where Britain has traditionally buried them where they fell. That is something which has completely changed with Iraq and Afghanistan where they are all brought home, although there are british war cemeteries in both countries from previous wars. Our last three surviving veterans of WW1 all died this year. It is now history.

  3. @ John - Knowing that my dad piloted his B-26 marauder from England on two missions on D-Day, I felt that I was drawn to the cemetery in Normandy to see the beaches and the French countryside that he had only saw from the air on that day. We drove down from Paris and little did we know that in the chapel in the middle of the cemetery was a ceiling which depicts the B-26 in mosaics. Them while walking through the rows of graves, I saw many B-26 crewmen who had been killed. That was a great surprise to me. When I learned that almost 10,000 men are buried there, it was startling that that many would remain forever so far from home.

    The last surprise was that on the day we visited, it was French citizens who were there (and a bus load of German soldiers) and not American tourists. I've see a few American cemeteries in our places, but none surpasses this one.

    What an amazing place.

  4. Beautiful shot, Frank. I lost a soon-to-be uncle at Omaha!

  5. Hi Frank,
    That must have been an inspiring sight, thanks for sharing it with us.