Saturday, December 12, 2009

Photo Scrapbook: Normandy Beaches

Because nearly a third of the 128 passengers on the Royal Baroness were Canadian, our Uniworld tour director, Tony Jenkins, arranged for a bus to make a stop at the Juno Beach Centre, a museum informing people about Canada's military and civilian efforts in WWII. Built mostly through private and corporate donations, it opened at Courseulles-sur-Mer, France on June 6, 2003.

Later, when touring the Omaha Beach site, our Uniworld tour director provided each of us with a fresh rose to place on a white Lasa marble headstone in one of the cemetery's ten grave plots, directly down from The Memorial.

In the center of The Memorial stands a 22-foot statue, "The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves."

Bonnie (right) and I at the Normandy invasion wall inside The Memorial, which faces west toward the headstones of nearly 10,000 servicemen who gave their lives during the Normandy invasion. Their average age was 22.

One could easily spend days looking at WWII displays, documents, films, etc. at the new Visitor Center, opened in 2007 by the American Battle Monuments Commission. The story about Ruperts was extremely interesting. The stuffed burlap paradummies were apparently first used in 1940 war efforts to make an invasion by air seem larger than it actually was.

The paradummy drop over Normandy is the best known operation of its kind. 500 dummies were dropped in 4 separate locations along the coastal interior. Each was equipped with an explosive charge that burned away the clothing after landing to prevent the discovery of their true nature, thus explaining why so few can be found today.

One of a number of German bunkers still standing on Omaha Beach, with its guns long since removed.

Doug, George and Jim on Omaha Beach.

Sails & Waves of Omaha Beach by Elf Evans is a poignant symbol of the lives lost during the massive Allied assault on the Normandy coastline on June 6, 1944.

(blog entries by Heidi Hutson)

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