The American Cemetery

The American Cemetery is located just above Omaha Beach where, on the morning of June 6, 1944, the sand was bathed in the blood of the Allied Forces. In the municipality of Colleville-sur-mer, the cemetery spreads out over a distance of 1 kilometer and 70 hectares. Several NormandyTours pass through this place.

Omaha Beach Memorial Monument

©Dennis Jarvis

A Place of Contemplation

Nine-thousand three-hundred and eighty-seven white marble steles dot the verdant green lawn of the Colleville-sur-Mer American Cemetery. A chapel demarcates the intersection of its two main alleys and the toll of the bell pierces the silence, rendering homage to the men who sacrificed their lives in the fight against the Axis powers. Among those who lie at the cemetery, 307 are unidentified. The cemetery can be visited during the day. 

The military cemetery in Colleville-sur-mer

©Flickr / isamiga76"

The Missing in Action Garden

The D-day landings and the Battle of Normandy account for countless casualties among the Western Allied forces. Unfortunately, not all the bodies of those who perished were found and the list of those Missing in Action totaled 1,557 persons. A terrible war, as you can see by visiting the Caen Memorial.

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The Missing in Action Garden

The garden is enclosed by walls in the shape of circled arches on which the names of those missing in action are engraved. These engravings inventory the remains of those soldiers who were never found or found but never identified, as was the case for the 800 men of the 66th Infantry Division who died during a torpedo attack.

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The Memorial

Visitors reach the Memorial by following the main alley. The monument is in the shape of a half-circle in the middle of which a 7-meter high statue is placed. The statue figuratively represents “the spirit of American youth rising from the depths.” The maps of numerous military operations are engraved on the Memorial’s walls and cover the following events:

  • Normandy beach landings
  • Aerial operations in Normandy from March to August 1944
  • Amphibious assaults and landings on D-day
  • Military operations in West Europe from June 6, 1944, to May 8, 1945.

A Token of French-American Relations

The cemetery is entirely managed by the American Battle Monuments Commission, an independent agency that administers American cemeteries and monuments from both world wars that are located outside of the United States. The plot of land on which the cemetery sits was ceded to the US from France.

The link forged between the two countries is symbolized by two statues found in the cemetery: one is the figure of Columbia who carries the American eagle and the other is the figure Marianne who holds the French rooster. Each figure holds an olive branch that symbolizes the peace that exists between the people of both nations who are united in peace, friendship, and spirit.

Don't miss The Military Cemetery of Bayeux, with more than 4000 graves.