The Normandy American Cemetery
The American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. ©Licence Creative Commons. Libre de droit
Covering an area of hectares, The American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer is one of fourteen American Second World War cemeteries.
Covering an area of hectares, The American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer is one of fourteen American Second World War cemeteries on foreign soil, and is managed by the ABMC, American Battle Monuments Commission.
9,386 graves are arranged in rows on this huge rectangular area, each marked by a stele in white Italian marble, in the form of either a cross or a star of David. On the right hand side of the entrance there is a capsule that will be opened on 6th June 2044, a century after D-day: it contains press articles from the time, and a message from Eisenhower to future generations.
The cemetery memorial consists of a colonnade with a seven-metre bronze statue symbolising American youth at its centre. Opposite the rows of graves, on the plinth of the work created by Donald De Lue, the following inscription can be read: "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.
Both ends of the semi-circular colonnade overlook loggias guarded by two great urns crowned by statues. The walls display maps carved into the stone representing the successive phases of the battle: the action of the airborne commandos, the naval plan of the landings, and the fighting on the four beaches. To the east of the memorial, the arc of the circle described by the garden to the missing holds the mortal remains of 1,557 American soldiers who were either drowned or unidentifiable. A chapel stands amid the graves, housing a coloured mosaic symbolising America blessing its children as they left to fight for freedom. A flight of steps leads to the sea, from where visitors have a wide panorama over Omaha Beach, as shown by the viewing table. Twelve kilometres away, rises the Pointe du Hoc monument erected by the French, and accidentally glimpsed in scenes from the 1962 film, "The Longest Day"
The remains of the heroes of the Normandy campaign have rested in peace since the official inauguration of the cemetery on 18th July 1956. Their final resting place was given in perpetuity by the French Republic to the United States of America.
Opposite the memorial, the American flag flies every day over the great bowl formed by the site, which is closed on 25th December and 1st January.
Seventeen kilometres north-west of Bayeux, via Surrain.
The Normandy American Cemetery "Omaha Beach"
tel. +33 188.8.131.52.00
fax. +33 184.108.40.206.09
American Battle Monuments Commission
Courthouse Plaza II, Suite 500 2300 Clarendon Boulevard Arlington,
VA 22201 United States Of America
tel. (00 1) (703) 696-6897
Omaha beach 14170
02 31 51 62 00
Ouvert tous les jours de 9h à 17h
Fermé le 25 décembre et le 1er janvier