The 5 Beaches…that’s how many of past generations remember Normandy’s D-Day.
If you aren’t as familiar with U.S. history as you’d like to be (and many of us aren’t), here’s a quick lesson.
The beaches in question are:
1. Utah: US 1st Division, supported by the 82d Airborne Division
2. Omaha: US 4th Division
3. Gold: UK 50th Division
4. Juno: Can 3rd Division
5. Sword: UK 3rd Division, supported by the 6th Airborne Division
At Utah, US Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., son of the Rough Rider president, was in charge. When he realized they had landed 1 mile off from their rendezvous, he just commented, “I guess we’ll just win the war from here then.”
At Omaha, US Lieutenant General Omar Bradley (for which the tank was named) nearly called off the attack when the casualties appeared almost insurmountable. Inevitably, they gained a toehold there and triumphed.
At Gold, British forces quickly took Arromanches fishing village which for weeks served as an artificial harbor for the influx of Allied military supplies.
At Juno, the death toll was particularly brutal with the Canadian force suffering a full 50% casualty rate of the initial storming echelon to German machine gun fire.
At Sword, with the British airborne troops and a battalion of Canadian paratroopers dropping down behind enemy lines, the British beachfront force managed to work inland quickly, taking both the Pegasus and Horsa Bridges and cutting off German reinforcements.
In just five days, Normandy will be celebrating the D-Day attack by the Allied Forces that eventually liberated France.
While many in the United States don’t really know much about it or even celebrate its victory in 1944, the 156,000 Allied soldiers who were involved in the operation are fondly remembered by the French people.
British artist Jamie, armed with large man-sized stencils and rakes, along with 60 volunteers, stormed the Gold Beach outside of Arromanches village to create the largest piece of art in commemoration of D-Day.
Jamie and his volunteers began stenciling 9000 figures in the sands, representing the 9000 men who died in that bittersweet victory.
By the time the 60 had begun their work, word of their deed had spread throughout Normandy province and within hours, more than 500 appeared to help.
By the end of the day, after the photos had appeared on social media, the tides had already washed away the tribute.
It stands as a testament of the true resilience in spirit of men and their continuing quest for peace.