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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Utah Beach

Soldiers look onto Utah Beach

Monuments

Musee

Tank and obstacle

Utah Beach - east

Utah Beach - museum

Utah Beach - west

Jeep

Ambulance

Army truck

Omaha Memorial

Les Braves

Rainbow

Les Braves, looking east

Omaha houses

Up the hill

Casemate

Omaha - Fox Green

Fox Green

Omaha, eastward

Emplacement

Casemate

From inside

More trucks on the beach

Major casemate

Casemate interior

Sun setting

Casemate interior no. 2

Casemate interior ceiling

Jeep at sunset

Tracks in the sand

Morning

Cliffs after dawn

Hill from the water

Looking east

A sight not unlike this

Prefab concete

Memorial

Alcoves

Normandy invasion

Operation Neptune

Deserved

Stage set

Crosses and stars of white

Tom Brokaw

Chapel

Kilometers of chairs

Rows and rows and rows

Though Utah Beach didn't have the same intensity of fighting as Omaha (which I visited next), there were still 450 casualties from the 23,250 men who landed there.

Read the full article: D-Day: 70th anniversary in pictures

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

There were lots of men and women in uniform. This shot wasn't staged -- these two men were just standing there, looking out on the beaches (to their left) and the Utah memorial (directly ahead).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

One of the many monuments to specific brigades or divisions along the beaches.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Dozens of museums dot the landscape of Normandy. You could spend weeks here and still not see everything, I think.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Cleared from the beaches long ago, many of the beach obstacles live on elsewhere, as a reminder. This tank faces inland, its back to the beach.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Facing roughly eastward down Utah Beach.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The view from the sea, headed inland. The curved building is the back of the Utah Beach museum.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Looking northwest along Utah Beach.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

There were hundreds of Jeeps and other military vehicles all over the area, many giving rides.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

An immaculate WWII ambulance. No rust. This can't live here, right?

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

An Army truck of...some kind. My WWII vehicle knowledge is more plane-based. Anyone?

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Heading down the coast, the next beach area was known as Omaha. Easily the biggest battle of the day, with 3,600 Allied casualties, more than 1 in 10 of the 34,250 soldiers who landed that day.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The striking Les Braves monument.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Thanks to the on-and-off rain, a rainbow appeared right as I was taking these pictures.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Looking down towards the main assault areas.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Now, you can buy a house right on Omaha Beach. I wonder how much the owners know of the war and this beach's importance.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

This was one of the few ways off the section of beach known as Easy Red, and one of the first cleared. Also one of the rare intact casemates.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Interestingly, a rusted out gun is still here, sitting in stagnant water.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

This is the big hill overlooking what I believe was the section called Fox Green, one of several monuments. What thoughts does that gentleman have, reading the names inscribed?

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

This is the view from one of the casemates overlooking Omaha Beach.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Looking east toward Fox Red.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The remains of a gun emplacement.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

One of a handful of casemates that are slowly falling apart.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Dirt has largely filled in the entranceway, but you can still enter in a crouch. This is the view looking out.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

These gents were racing, I think.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

One of two larger casemates, you can walk into the main section where the gun once was.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Not much to look at now. Standing water, mud, even some graffiti.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The second major casemate, the top is home to another monument (which possibly has been damaged, as it was wrapped in plastic).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The view is roughly westward. Note the tracks on the floor, where I believe the gun turret would have swiveled.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Rusty, yet still standing after all these years.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The rays of the setting sun frame this Jeep nicely. The sun sets at 10pm this time of year.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The remains of some spirited beach driving.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

I came back the next morning. This picture was taken 6:30am, the same time the first Higgins boats were hitting the beach, 70 years earlier. Notice how light it is already.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Looking westward, towards Pointe du Hoc.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

A view similar to what the soldiers tasked with taking Fox Green would have seen, plus 70 years of foliage.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Fox Red's slightly less daunting task.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Looking up the hill toward the remains of the German casemates, from the water.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

These are one of the only remains of anything on the beaches from those days. I believe they're prefab concrete blocks meant as a base for the temporary docks they built after the beaches were cleared.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

At the entrance end of the cemetery is this stone half-circle memorial, with the "The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves" statue in the center.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

To the sides of the main monument, huge maps diagram the invasion of Normandy and Europe at large.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

It took my brain a second to comprehend, as the map is flipped (to me, anyway).

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Again, the map is flipped around, but here you can see the boats that were involved in the beach landings.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

All throughout the cemetery, WWII veterans were followed by groups of all ages. Pictures taken, autographs signed, hands shaken, these men were treated like rock stars. (I even overheard one of them saying so.)

As it should be.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

For the official presentations, this set is erected in front of the main monument. Look at all the seats.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Humbling.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

Tom Brokaw was here for NBC News, interviewing many of the veterans who had returned for the 70th anniversary observance.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

In the center of the cemetery is this small, round chapel. Around it are benches where several veterans were sitting, talking to small groups of people, signing autographs, and having their pictures taken.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

The stage is somewhere in the distance. There's going to be a lot of people here, as there should be.

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison

9,387 buried here, out of over 407,000 Americans and 16 million total dead for Allies.

Read the full article: D-Day: 70th anniversary in pictures

Caption by / Photo by Geoffrey Morrison
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