From a fittingly moody, overcast and rainy backdrop rise two impressively tall flag masts before a lily pond leading to the memorial. Large maps engraved into the walls depict the stages of the D Day landings and subsequent progress into Europe. A large bronze statue forms the focal point.

Respect – is the one word I would use to describe arguably one of the most beautifully serene places in Normandy, in Colleville-sur-Mer. Reverential is the other one.

Video: American Cemetery Omaha Beach Normandy

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

Entry is free into the cemetery and a visitor centre opened about 14 years ago. It is a sobering visit that commemorates the thousands of lives lost in this war. All of it, once again, can be described with one word: respect…

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