Sunday, May 4, 2014

The American Cemetery At Colleville-sur-Mer

Located between the village of Colleville-sur-Mer and the beach along the English Channel, the Normandy American Cemetery occupies a 70-hectare site that was granted for life by France to the United States.  A total of 9,387 headstones mark the graves of American servicemen - and a few women - who gave their lives during the D-Day operation.

The entrance walkway is lined with trees shaped to resemble a style of hat known as the fez.

Another walkway goes down to the beach.

Here is just a small section of the cemetery, showing rows of cross-shaped headstones.

In this view, a few of the headstones are shaped as stars of David, for Jewish soldiers.

Near the center of the cemetery is the chapel.

Near the east entrance is this memorial, which includes a reflecting pool.

At the center of the memorial is this bronze statue of a young man, representing the youth of the fallen soldiers.

In one wing of the memorial is this map showing the allied troop movements that started with D-Day.  The map is upside-down from the normal convention, with up corresponding to south.

On the side of the memorial opposite the graves is an area dedicated to the missing in action, whose names are inscribed on the wall.

In this closeup, you can see that the names are accompanied by the soldier's rank and unit.

The vast majority of Americans buried in this cemetery are largely unknown, but there are a few relatively famous people here.  One is General Theodore Roosevelt Jr., son of the first President Roosevelt.  Another is Medal of Honor winner Lieutenant Jimmie Monteith Jr., an alumnus of Virginia Tech.  For more on the American Cemetery at Colleville, go here and here.

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