Home International After two years of pandemic, Americans are back on the landing beaches

After two years of pandemic, Americans are back on the landing beaches

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This Monday marks the commemorations of the 78th anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy to liberate the areas occupied by Nazi Germany. After two years of pandemic, tourists are back on the famous beaches, especially Americans, major players in this D-Day.

It was 78 years ago. On June 6, 1944, the landing of the allied forces, also called Operation Neptune, took place on the beaches of Normandy. In the early morning, the first soldiers tread the sand of the beaches to liberate the zones controlled by Nazi Germany. Places steeped in history, symbols and essential in the collective imagination.

And more particularly for the Americans, the main actors of this historic day. After two years of restrictions linked to Covid-19, they are back on the Normandy coast. At Omaha Beach, one of the bloodiest landing beaches, Matthew collects a few grains of sand, which he intends to bring back to Florida. “It’s breathtaking, we can’t put words to it,” he says captivated.

Tradition and tributes

This is the first time Matthew has come to Normandy. Moment all the more special for this young captain in the American army. “We try to put ourselves in the shoes of these soldiers, but it was too important a role. Nothing compares to what happened on this beach 78 years ago. As an American , it’s really rewarding”

Further west, towards Utah beach, another major theater of the landing. Sitting on the terrace, Chris, a regular, observes a parade of tanks of the time. He returns for the first time since the start of the pandemic to respect tradition, but also to pay tribute. “It’s in our heads, because it’s the first time there’s been a war in Europe since 1945,” he told us. “But history repeats itself, doesn’t it?”

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Like Chris, there will be many of them presently attending the official ceremonies at Bernières-sur-Mer, and the flights over the beaches by the Patrouille de France.

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