Skip to main content

D-DAY: 75 YEARS LATER

NORMANDY THROUGH THE EYES OF A 13-YEAR-OLD

D-DAY: 75 YEARS LATER

I understand that kids my age don’t understand the sacrifice that many men made on June 6, 1944. However, I was very fortunate to go to France and visit Normandy. Before I went, I had pictured the place to be filled with huge craters and massive hedgerows. While there still were hedgerows and craters, I also saw a beautiful country filled with many small businesses and nice people always willing to have a conversation. While I was there, my family visited the towns of Caen and Bayeux, as well as other small villages. The town of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, east of Utah Beach, includes a church called Sainte-Mère-Église. This church was one of the main objectives when the 101st Airborne Division landed in Normandy. Rumors have been told that a soldier landed on top of the church and got stuck up on its steeple. Germans found him and took him as a prisoner of war. This church is also mentioned in episode two of the HBO series “Band of Brothers.” In the city of Caen, there are many museums and memorials including the famous Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial where over 9,300 Americans are buried. This cemetery also appears in the movie “Saving Private Ryan.” To get the full experience, we hired a tour guide to take us to the major historical locations and the beaches. We learned a ton of information that you can’t look up on the internet. I never knew that more men died going through hedgerows and securing villages than on the beaches themselves.

dday-75-yrs-1
La Pointe du Hoc

Our tour guide also took us to an interesting bunker system at La Pointe du Hoc. In World War II, La Point du Hoc was a giant cliff that had German 155mm naval guns to that fire at Allies and Americans landing at both Utah and Omaha Beaches, which was a distance of about 20,000 feet. German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel built these guns as part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall defense. On the day of Operation Overlord, the code name for the Allied invasion of Normandy, the 2nd and 5th Ranger Battalions were sent to go silence these weapons. Since the guns were built on a 100-foot-high cliff, Rangers were trained to use ropes and climb this cliff, which sounds nearly impossible to me. In Gen. Omar Bradley’s memoir, “A Soldier’s Story,” he said, “No soldier in my command has ever been wished a more difficult task than that which befell the 34-year-old commander of this Provisional Ranger Force.” The man that Gen. Bradley mentioned was the commander of these battalions: Lt. Col. James E. Rudder. After the Rangers made it to the top, they eventually secured the position and saved many lives. The last remaining functional bunker after D-Day is directly north of Bayeux, called Longues-sur-Mer battery. There are actually four naval gun bunkers, but only one is still intact.

dday-75-yrs-2

The place we stayed at was a small bed-and-breakfast near the town of Villers-Bocage, and is south of Bayeux: La Ferme du Pressoir Gite, which means “The Pressoir Farm Cottage” in English. The owner lives onsite and raises goats, chickens, and horses. The breakfast was amazing, filled with all types of baked foods. The owner also gave us books about the Villers-Bocage’s history where I learned that a massive tank battle had occurred there. A German Tiger tank was destroying a lot of American Sherman tanks. Eventually, the Allies had to bomb the whole town just to kill the single Tiger. 

dday-75-yrs-3
Normandy American Cemetery

One of the best experiences I had was at Omaha Beach. Before I visited Normandy, I had seen many movies about D-Day and the experiences many soldiers had. Most of them were only four or five years older than me. While I was just standing on the sandy beaches, I had thought about all the sacrifices those men had to make for me to be there. It makes me very sad to think that many people do not appreciate those who gave it all for their country. The freedom that many men and women died for. Many people just take it for granted. One memorial that stuck out to me was a memorial at the Normandy American Cemetery. There was a young man coming out of water and all the rocks in the cement came from Omaha Beach. This memorial stood for the youthful Allied soldiers who never returned home. If I could, I would go back to Normandy because it would take months to see everything.


dday-75-yrs-4
Soldiers make preparations in England before D-Day.



Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

In this segment of “At The Range,” Handgunning Editor Jeremy Stafford and contributor Patrick Sweeney compare the visibility of red and green lasers in outdoor, sunny conditions.

Cameras Don

Cameras Don't Lie: Subsonic 9mm vs. .300 Blackout

In this segment of "Cameras Don't Lie," a subsonic-ammo showdown, 9mm vs. .300 Blackout fired from AR rifles.

Air Gun Reviews: Why Shoot Airsoft?

Air Gun Reviews: Why Shoot Airsoft?

In this Guns & Ammo TV segment, Gun Tech Editor Richard Nance and Pro-Shooter Jim Tarr discuss the benefits of airsoft training for uniformed professionals and armed citizens alike.

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

At the heart of the rifle is the Model 2020 action which wish designed and built with very tight tolerances thanks to Springfield's technology-driven manufacturing capabilities The stainless steel action features an integral recoil lug, and pairs with a fluted bolt employing dual cocking cams and an enhanced extractor for high pressure loads. The blueprinted and precisely machined action allows Springfield to offer the Model 2020 with .75" MOA accuracy guarantee. Despite being a production rifle, the Model 2020 should rival more expensive custom builds.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The Savage MSR 15 Competition is an out-of-the-box racehorse ready to help you win 3-Gun matches. Here's why.Savage MSR 15 Competition Review Reviews

Savage MSR 15 Competition Review

James Tarr - May 21, 2019

The Savage MSR 15 Competition is an out-of-the-box racehorse ready to help you win 3-Gun...

The first in this new family of Springfield Armory rifles is the Model 2020 Waypoint, the result of years of engineering, testing and evaluation, combined with premium grade components found on rifles costing thousands of dollars more.First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle Rifles

First Look: Springfield Armory Model 2020 Waypoint Bolt-Action Rifle

Guns & Ammo Staff - September 29, 2020

The first in this new family of Springfield Armory rifles is the Model 2020 Waypoint, the...

The Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan is arguably the best production-grade precision hunting rifle available.Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan Review Rifles

Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan Review

Joseph von Benedikt - March 25, 2019

The Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed Long Range McMillan is arguably the best...

Whether you're going hunting or to the range, hitting your target is more fun when you have a zeroed rifle scope. Here's how to sight in your rifle scope setup in five quick-and-easy steps.How to Sight In a Rifle Scope in 5 Steps How-To

How to Sight In a Rifle Scope in 5 Steps

Craig Boddington - June 04, 2018

Whether you're going hunting or to the range, hitting your target is more fun when you have a...

See More Trending Articles

More Historical

Designed as a supplemental sidearm in World War I, this .45 ACP sixgun was made to commercial specs and is still a great shooter.Historical Handguns: The Model 1917 Smith & Wesson Sixgun Historical

Historical Handguns: The Model 1917 Smith & Wesson Sixgun

Garry James - November 09, 2018

Designed as a supplemental sidearm in World War I, this .45 ACP sixgun was made to commercial...

More than 60 years after T/Sgt. Robert Emary recovered it from a fallen German tanker,  a 1937-manufactured Luger is returned home.Dad's WWII Luger Pistol Handguns

Dad's WWII Luger Pistol

Dave Emary - March 06, 2020

More than 60 years after T/Sgt. Robert Emary recovered it from a fallen German tanker, a...

A look at the M1 Garand, M1 Carbine and other guns carried and used during the most pivotal event of World War II: D-Day.Guns of D-Day: M1 Garand, M1 Carbine and More Historical

Guns of D-Day: M1 Garand, M1 Carbine and More

Garry James - June 27, 2019

A look at the M1 Garand, M1 Carbine and other guns carried and used during the most pivotal...

Normandy through the eyes of a 13-year-old.D-DAY: 75 YEARS LATER Historical

D-DAY: 75 YEARS LATER

Jacob Avery

Normandy through the eyes of a 13-year-old.

See More Historical

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now