American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy

A Visit to the Normandy Invasion Beaches

Author: The Traveling Professor/Monday, May 29, 2017/Categories: Paris

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It is very difficult for me to describe the emotions I feel when visiting the American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer in Normandy.  Everyone has different emotions when they visit, but for me it is a mixture of sadness, pride, patriotism and more.

Most people combine a visit to the cemetery with a tour to the Normandy Invasion Beaches as we did last month.   Find our itinerary HERE.   

The cemetery itself sits on a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach, the landing beach where Americans suffered the greatest casualties while performing unbelievable acts of heroism to accomplish their mission for the day.  One can only imagine the horrors that happened on that beach but just a short walk is the entrance to the cemetery, a place of peace and tranquility.

We usually enter at "The Wall of the Missing" where the names of 1,557 missing heroes are inscribed.  The gardens are meticulously cared for and beautiful to look at.  

Separating the Wall of the Missing and the graves of 9,387 buried here is the memorial colonnade.  The focal point is the sculpture of "Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves" soaring into the sky.  It is here that ceremonies are often held to memorialize the war dead.

The gravestones are in pristine condition, in a perfectly manicured field.  There is a story behind every cross and Star of David.  There are brothers, fathers and sons, neighbors, men and women buried here.

The visitor center offers two good movie presentations on D-Day as well as artifacts and stories of those who fought there.

I would recommend spending about 3 hours at the cemetery.

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