Pointe du Hoc: Counting Down to the 75th Anniversary of D-Day
If you're just now jumping in to my journey of exploring the beaches of Normandy, feel free to check out the two previous posts about Arromanches and Utah Beach/Sainte-Mère-Église for some background and stories leading up to our visit to Pointe du Hoc.
Pointe du Hoc might be one of the most inspiring stories of endurance and bravery that I've ever heard. We traveled from Sainte-Mère-Église eastward to Pointe du Hoc and began to navigate the battlefield that was formerly a German battery.
Situated on top of a cliff, we walked through the green space which had been under German occupancy and riddled with pill boxes (cement forts), and the scenery was simultaneously beautiful and eerie. This area had sustained heavy naval fire and created massive holes all over the place. Those holes have since grown grass and flowers, which seems to be a fitting memorial for this place.
We continued through this clifftop field to the edge and saw where the Army Rangers, against all odds, scaled this threshold to battle the Germans and capture this battery. The scenery of the surrounding area is gorgeous, and the cliff face while beautiful, was baffling to imagine young Army Rangers scaling while being fired upon by the Germans. One Ranger would fall and another would take his place, until they climbed victoriously to the top and won this battle.
The view from the top overlooking Utah Beach to the west and Omaha Beach to the east is stunning. These views you'd think of as the vista featured in a travel or vacation magazine, not the bloody battle site where so many soldiers would give their lives for freedom. As we count down to the 75th anniversary of D-Day, I am grateful for the opportunity to experience this beautiful shoreline and hear the stories of the fight for freedom.