Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sainte-Mère-Église

Located inland from Utah Beach, Sainte-Mère-Église, which translates as "holy mother church", became the first town liberated on D-Day, the result of a landing by paratroopers from the American 82nd Airborne Division that started at around 1:30 a.m.  Today, the liberation of Sainte-Mère-Église is commemorated by the zero-kilometer marker of the Voie de la Liberté (Liberty Road).

The Hotel de Ville is not a hotel, but the town hall.

In front of the Hotel de Ville is the zero-kilometer marker, immediately behind which is a memorial to the people of Sainte-Mère-Église who gave their lives in the war.

In this front view of the local church, if you look closely, you can see a mannequin hanging from the tower.

Here's the church from a different angle.

A closeup of the tower shows the mannequin, which is a memorial to paratrooper John Steele, whose parachute was caught by the tower.  According to our guides, mannequin is incorrect on two counts, because it is located on the opposite side of the tower from where Steele actually landed, and because it includes a white parachute, whereas Steele's would have been olive green.

Behind this wall is part of the Airborne Museum, which was created in 1964.  The shelter houses a Douglas C-47 that was used to drop paratroopers.

To learn more about what happened at Sainte-Mère-Église, go here, here and here.

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