Today we focused on the American side of the Normandy invasion by going to Utah and Omaha beach and the St. Mere church. There is a significant difference between the American sites and the Canadian sites in terms of visitors, but then again, D-DAY is only two days away meaning more visitors are likely to visit those places. Despite that, we visited the beaches learning about how they carried out their orders and the challenges they faced while climbing up the beach. I was shocked by what the Americans had to do at Point du Hoc as they had to climb up a steep cliff to take German bunkers and some guns. The bunkers were there but the guns were pushed about 10 kilometers inland so they could not get to them. There were also a lot of deep shell holes which gave me a good idea of the power of the American guns used during the operation.
Additionally, there were many reenactors present at all American sites. One place in particular had dug foxholes and brought in several different types of American vehicles. Many of us assumed the reenactors were American, but many were Belgian and maybe some French as well. It is curious why they choose to dress up like Americans. Perhaps it is easier to find American gear or because of the American film industry catching their imagination. There was after all, many visitors on site.
Today was an incredible day but what made it even better was that I got to meet one of the actors who played in Band of Brothers at Utah beach. He was speaking with a WW2 veteran and I asked if I could take a photo which was great!