Reflections of Pointe du Hoc and the American Cemetery
The morning of D-Day we set off knowing we were bound to have trouble getting around. With Obama and the Queen in town, the area was under tight security. Just the day prior we had learned that a pre-ordered car tag was required to drive on certain roads during the morning and early afternoon of D-Day. The road blockages just added to the adventure as we rerouted down one-lane roads coasting through the countryside.
Stomachs still somewhat in tact, Filippo delivered and got us to Pointe du Hoc. It was here, during the early morning hours of D-Day that American Rangers scaled the 100 foot cliffs to dismantle German artillery in order to weaken German counterattack at Omaha and Utah beaches. When all was said, of the original 225 Rangers, only 90 still stood.
Our timing was beautiful. Just as we began our walk out to the cliffs, a ceremony was beginning. We followed the participants and American flag to the sea alongside the solemn sounds of bagpipes. Chatting with U.S. Military, we weaved around the grass-covered craters, mighty remnants of the war. In the sea breeze we imagined the scene 70 years prior.
The following day before bidding au revoir to Normanday, we payed our respects to the fallen at the American Cemetery. It was a bit of a traffic nightmare getting close enough where we could tread the last few kilometers on foot; I burst into tears like a 5-year-old after ramming head first into a road sign. The cemetery was well worth the pain and frustration though. A field of infinite white crosses enveloped us in a moment of reverence to those who gave it all for freedom. This pristine vista of sacrifice allowed us to sign off on one extraordinary journey never to be forgotten.