This is the second of a three-part series about a trip this week to Normandy. For part one about the stunning memorial at the American Cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, go here.
Les Braves - French sculptor Anilore Banon's tribute to soldiers involved in the June 6, 1944 D-Day landings at Normandy beaches. A plaque near Omaha Beach describes Banon's philosophy in the three elements of her sculpture:
Wings of Hope - So that the spirit which carried these men on June 6, 1944 continues to inspire us, reminding us that together it is always possible to change the future.
Rise Freedom! - So that the example of those who rose against barbarity helps us remain standing strong against all forms of inhumanity.
The Wings of Fraternity - So that this surge of brotherhood always reminds us of our responsibility towards others, as well as ourselves.
See my post of 13 April, 2006 for more information about the funding and development of this sculpture.
An engraving on the side of a monument honours soldiers who came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day.
Pointe du Hoc
A navigational error landed soldiers at the base of this 100-foot cliff, which they had to climb with German soldiers firing from atop the cliff. France erected a monument here to honour elements of the 2nd Ranger Battalion that scaled the cliff. The memorial consists of a tall granite pylon atop a concrete bunker and is visible in the far left corner of the photo.
In 1979, the 30-acre area was presented to the American government. It remains much as it was left in 1944, complete with concrete German bunkers, gun mounts and giant craters left by bombs. Cliff erosion recently has made much of the area unstable, so huge swathes of the cliff are encircled with fences and barbed wire to prevent accidents.
A child climbs out of a German "foxhole."
Leaning cypress trees have been shaped by strong winds from the sea.
Trotter horses training for races at nearby Deauville take advantage of the spring tides to run on the sea bed. Usually this sand is completely covered by water. American forces of the VII Corps landed here June 6, 1944 and fought until July 1 to liberate the Cotentin Peninsula from the Germans.
Driftwood fenceposts, sea grasses and sand dunes on the edge of Utah Beach.