Omaha Beach


Thursday 30 May 2019

A short hop along the coast brought me to a site with power. After a month away, Big Al was due a bit of love and a morning of cleaning ensued.

In the afternoon I cycled to Omaha Beach, the fourth D-Day beach running right to left, and the American’s.

Flat and wide, it wasn’t hard to imagine troops fighting their way across it, particularly if you’ve seen Saving Private Ryan, and particularly if the remains of a Higgins Boat, the landing craft, happen to be revealed.

It a bit like the dead marshes in Lord of the Rings, those lost in battle staring up through water.

The memorial on the beach is dramatic.

After walking back along the beach I climbed the hill, past some remaining German fortifications. This one had a memorial on it,

and a lethal view along the beach.

The American Cemetery is on the hill.

It’s huge. It contains 9388 graves. Much of the area was roped off and there is a significant 75th memorial event being set up.

The car park was full and the cemetery packed, with visitors of many nationalities but many Americans. I felt a bit of a fraud as people smiled and nodded at me. I’d put on my NYPD T-shirt after my shower, and my usual baseball cap and shades – I looked more American than the Americans.

On the ride back I spotted this.

Also, many houses with bunting out.

Remembering D-Day is taken seriously.

Saving Private Ryan fun facts. The Cemetery scenes are the only ones filmed in the actual location. The Omaha Beach stand-in is Ballinesker Beach in Ireland, and the Ryan house in Iowa was filmed in West Kennet in Wiltshire. Other scenes were filmed elsewhere in England.

I’m looking forward to seeing the film again.

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