June 6, 2024, will mark 80 years since the D-Day landings in Normandy. Before dawn that day, Operation Overlord began. It brought the united land, air and sea forces of the Allied forces together in what remains the largest amphibious invasion in military history.
Near 160,000 Allied troops landed that day and led the way for over 850,000 service members reaching Normandy’s shores by the end of June. This invasion and victory truly marked the beginning of Western Europe’s liberation.
You can set foot where history took place on tour, learning from a unique perspective about what happened the day that the tides turned against the Axis powers in WWII. Embarking on this special journey, prepare yourself for moving encounters with history as you visit the memorials and significant sites of France’s shores, forever linked to memories of World War II.
Omaha Beach, Utah Beach and the Normandy American Cemetery
Immerse yourself in D-Day history with a visit to the two U.S. landing zones of the invasion of Normandy: Omaha Beach and Utah Beach. On Omaha Beach, you’ll be able see the 6-mile stretch that has become synonymous with the invasion at Normandy, where some of the toughest fighting took place.
At the Normandy American Cemetery, pay respects and take in the stars and stripes raised over the graves of the 9,386 military who gave their lives in the Battle of Normandy. This cemetery is located on the site of the former temporary St. Laurent Cemetery, established on June 8, 1944, as the first American cemetery on European soil in WWII.
Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument
Jutting into the English Channel, Pointe du Hoc provided an elevated vantage point for German forces, overlooking both Omaha and Utah beaches. Ultimately, members of the 2nd Ranger Battalion scaled 100-foot cliffs on D-Day to seize the fortified enemy position and protect Allied brothers-in-arms. Visiting this location is a key to understanding the heroic feats accomplished that day.
While many Americans lost their lives on Omaha Beach, Canadian soldiers suffered heavy casualties at Juno Beach. Ultimately, the Canadian forces at Juno captured more territory from Nazi occupation than any other battalion during this operation.
What is now a seaside resort town will forever be tied to the events of D-Day. See the remains of the artificial Mulberry port built by the Allies to resupply their lines during the liberation of France.
Caen Memorial Peace Museum
The Caen Memorial Peace Museum was built to commemorate those who died in the Battle of Normandy in 1944, with an additional focus on how fragile peace time was in the 20th century. It first opened on June 6th, 1988, the 44th anniversary of D-Day, and shares what led to WWII. On the grounds of the museum, you’ll find three memorial gardens, one each for American, Canadian and British forces that were all instrumental in liberating France from Axis occupancy.
This is a journey not taken lightly. We honor the past and the heroes before us by revisiting history here. Step back into 1944 and experience the gravity of visiting these historic battlegrounds of WWII.
We have faith that future generations will know that here, in the middle of the twentieth century, there came a time when men of good will found a way to unite, and produce, and fight to destroy the forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery and war.”Franklin D. Roosevelt
Experience all this and more on a AAA Member Choice Vacations® Tour.