To prepare the daughter for our visit to the Normandy beaches, we watched the 1962 war film The Longest Day at home. In Arromanches, we spent our first night watching Saving Private Ryan again. I really don’t like movie scenes depicting blood and gore and would instinctively turn my head away from the screen. However, I did not expect that the trip to the now-peaceful-tourist site Pointe du Hoc would cause me more pain.
Point du Hoc, the highest point between Utah Beach and Omaha Beach, was a German-fortified area with concrete casements and gun pits. On D-Day, the US Army Rangers captured the place after scaling the cliffs, and around 90 men remained out of the 225 plus who were part of the assault. To know what went down during D-Day, visit the page of the American Battle Monuments Commission.
Today, the place features a museum and a memorial dedicated to the battle. What gave me goosebumps and a feeling of sadness is walking around the bomb crater-filled area, going inside the observation bunkers and ammunition shelters and taking in the views of the promontory. I just needed to close my eyes momentarily to feel the horror of war, to remember the stories of family members who’ve gone thru it, and to be thankful that I have not experienced anything close to it.
The photos from Pointe du Hoc, plus some from Omaha Beach, are the last ones that I would take of the rest of our visit to the Normandy coastline.
Pointe du Hoc