Incredible and respectful attention to detail in getting the 10 000 crosses perfectly lined up

Normandy | American Cemetery

From a fittingly moody, overcast and rainy backdrop rise two impressively tall flag masts before a lily pond leading to the memorial.

I have tried to capture the mood in the video below, but it is, of course, far bigger than that. Impossible to capture in a couple of minutes, but please have a look and try and imagine the scale.

The memorial has large maps engraved into the walls metres high depicting the stages of the D Day landings and subsequent progress into Europe. A large bronze statue forms the focal point.

This is arguably one of the most beautifully serene places in Normandy, in Colleville-sur-Mer. Reverential and respectful. You stand in awed silence. You walk along the rows of perfectly straight headstones.

Over 9000 graves mark the passing of American military soldiers during operation Overlord. White crosses are laid out with such precision that you have to see in person to appreciate. Each row is meticulously straight with each cross at the exact point it needs to be in terms of height and orientation. Interspersed amongst the immaculately clipped green grass are trees and bushes and the cemetery is overlooking Omaha beach.

I find it difficult to convey the feelings in trying to understand what happened here all those years ago. One word describes this memorial: respect…

Entry is free into the cemetery. A visitor centre opened about 14 years ago. It is a sobering visit that commemorates the thousands of lives lost in this war.

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