Omaha Beach: Counting Down to the 75th Anniversary of D-Day
We continued our trip visiting the D-Day sites on to Omaha Beach. All along the beaches of Normandy you will find many memorials to various battalions, leaders, and branches of various militaries. Walking up to Omaha Beach was no different—there was a beautiful monument dedicated to those who fought here.
Walking up to the beach you never would have guessed that anything had happened there. The beach is pristine and all of the wreckage had been cleaned up from the D-Day landings.
When the Allies landed at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, they landed in low tide. The Germans had placed mechanisms that would tear out the bottom of the boats leading up to the beach, but since they launched at low tide, they could see and avoid them. The catch was since the tide was low, the boats couldn't come in as far, and they had to cross the beach, much like in the photo above, carrying up to 100 pounds of equipment and being bombarded with machine gun fire. Looking out to the beach, I couldn't imagine what that must have been like.
So many things had gone wrong that day. Men drowned when coming off the boats as they were shot and couldn't rid themselves of their equipment packs. Due to the weather, not all troops landed at their intended locations, so support was not immediate, and they had to hold their position with German forces pummeling them from an advantageous position. Forces were unsure if they could hold their position and capture Omaha, and it was a key position because it was the second artificial harbor, along with Arromanches, and was a necessity to hold to remove the German occupation of the area.
Because so many men were lost, it became known as "Bloody Omaha." I can't even begin to think of how dreadful Omaha Beach must have looked on that fateful day. But their sacrifice made way for the Allies to hold, stabilize, and capture Omaha Beach, which was a turning point in the D-Day launches and in the liberation of France.
What remains at Omaha today is a beautiful monument on the beach. You'd think it a piece of modern art. The three sections represent "The Wings of Hope," reminding us that it is always possible to change the future, "Rise, Freedom!", continuing to stand strong against inhumanity, and "The Wings of Fraternity," commemorating the transition from fellow soldiers to brothers in one of the most historic battles in history.
I am so grateful to have visited Omaha Beach and learn more of its historical significance in the modern world.