We visited this area around the 68th anniversary of the D Day landings. We visited the Omaha Beach museum on the way to the cemetery, and met some soldiers of the current day 101st Airborne who were in the area to participate in the memorial activities. The museum is a little homespun, but very moving. The personal possessions of the soldiers and photographs of the wounded were the most striking things to me. Afterwards we went to the cemetery, where 9,380 white crosses are laid out as far as the eye can see. The cemetery is dignified and very beautiful, and there is no doubt that 9,380 sounds like a lot, but is so much more impactful when represented by the individual crosses. Jewish grave markers are headed by a star of David, and many of them had a small stone left by a visitor as is the Jewish custom. Some of the crosses had dog tags hanging from them, others fresh flowers at their feet. There were a few veterans there and it was very humbling to think of their courage as young men in a foreign land. Most of them have never been able to move on from this harrowing experience. I was struck by how quickly we have moved on, and forgotten. Not the French of this region, however, their liberators are not forgotten. And we experienced a welcome in Normandy that we have never seen before in France.
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