This is a continuation of my previous post about the Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial. The first post focused on the memorial, and this post focuses on the cemetery.
There are a total of 9,387 Americans buried in the Normandy American Cemetery. Of those, 307 people are unidentified. The cemetery covers 172 acres. France gave the United States a perpetual concession to the land occupied by the cemetery (free of charge and taxes), over which the American flag flies.
I felt so many different emotions as we wandered through the cemetery — sadness for the lives lost, anger, awe at the amount of love and appreciation still being poured out by the people visiting the cemetery, and ultimately admiration at the selflessness of all of the Allies who fought during WWII. It definitely made me proud to see so many American flags flying in a foreign country.
“That road to V-E Day was hard and long, and traveled by weary and valiant men. And history will always record where that road began. It began here, with the first footprints on the beaches of Normandy.” – President George W. Bush
We were lucky enough to visit the cemetery on the day before Memorial Day, so I’m unsure whether or not this large quantity of flower arrangements is there daily or if this was something special because of Memorial Day.
It made me particularly emotional to see the graves marked by the Star of David. Did the Jewish soldiers know of the atrocities being committed against their people? Did the know that they were fighting to save their brothers and sisters?