Friday, October 14, 2011

paris: normandy

i've wanted to go to see the beaches at normandy for a very long time.
i often joke that i don't care about any history that happened after 1900, except wwii.
it's hard to understand the enormity of what happened there.
how many lives were lost.
we visited omaha beach (one of the two american landing beaches)
and the normandy american cemetery and memorial.
the whole experience was reverential.
i was shocked to find people enjoying the beach in a normal way.
sunbathing and swimming in the water.
it kind of seemed sacrilegious.
maybe it's just me.

the cemetery and memorial were impressive.
we noticed immediately that we were on american run grounds.
everything was much more precise, clean, organized.
(but they still didn't have toilet seat covers.)  
we got there later in the afternoon, 
so we didn't have time to go in the museums and really explore the grounds.
i would have like more time there.

les braves. erected on omaha beach by the french government in honor of the american soldiers who died there.

inside a machine gun bunker

the spirit of american youth rising from the waves

this phrase, "mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord" circles the bottom of the statue (above). it always fills my heart with gratitude when i find religious elements unapologetically inserted into national monuments.

they have several of these maps at the memorial. they show the movements of troops throughout the war on the many different fronts. they are huge.

several of the trees are cut into very geometric shapes. it made me feel a little like i was in an animated disney movie.


Natalie said...

i hear you about the appropriateness level of sunbathers. such pretty photos of the place. ever since watching that opening scene of saving private ryan, normandy had such a raw, personal touch. i've got to get there.