Tuesday, July 4, 2017
The American Cemetery in Normandy
Above Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, more than 9,000 United States soldiers are buried in a field of nearly 200 acres. The Crosses and Stars of David are in symmetric lines. All of the markers face west toward America.
Walking around and across this beautiful field, my mind went back to another area of about a square kilometer honoring people killed in this war: the Death Camp at Birkenau, part of the Auschwitz extermination camp in Poland.
The Americans who gave their lives in Normandy began the invasion that would end the Holocaust and end Nazi tyranny in Europe.
The soldiers buried in Normandy are a small part of the nearly half-million Americans killed in World War II. But the field of graves feels endless. I have been to other military cemeteries with their rows of identical markers, but somehow this one was overwhelming. Any time I turned to the north on this bright, sunny day, I could walked to the edge of the hill looking down on the beach and see where many of these soldiers died.