Other posts on this trip: Getting to Our Little HouseDieppe and Thereabouts.

I didn’t realize today was the 70th anniversary of D-Day, and I hadn’t planned on posting these photos. I was going to talk about Rouen and a zoo and more food. But, it seems like a really good time to just post the photos we took. My lens was filthy on that beach, I have no idea why. It was windy and sandy, I guess.


One of the things I wanted to do most on our trip to France was drive down to the D-Day sites and see the memorials. It was a trek from our little house, and by the time we saw the Bayeux tapestry on the way, stopped for lunch, and made it to Omaha Beach the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial had closed. We’d missed it by less than half an hour, as had several other clearly American tourists peeking through the gates when we were there. That was a huge disappointment, but seeing some of the plaques along the road on the way up this hill to the cemetery were not.


It is especially surreal to see the site of so much carnage, and such an absolutely pivotal moment in America’s involvement in WWII, as just an everyday beach. My in-laws walked down to the area with pieces of boats and equipment still in the sand while we drove up the hill. We only saw the beach that’s just…a beach. As the only American (over the age of 2) in our group, I was surprised that I was also the most thrown by this. I forget that some of WWII was actually fought in, you know, England. So Brits have a lot of history and carnage of their own on their home soil.


Somehow D-Day was more vague and abstract to Adam and my in-laws; an event they certainly knew about, but it didn’t hold the same place in history that it does for America. D-Day is huge for us, and part of our common consciousness. I don’t even remember learning about it in school, but I remember my dad explaining it to me after I watched Stand by Me and Teddy’s “My father stormed the beach at Normandy!” speech.

Check out this art installation commemorating the anniversary. 9000 bodies etched into the sand to commemorate the fallen that day. It’s wild to see those photos and picture that day, and then remember that we stood there on a peaceful beach on a beautiful May day.