“Keep Those Actions Clear….I’ll See You On The Beach!”
September 2011 was when I got to have a taste of Europe. I traveled to several cities in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and France. I’m a huge history freak, especially World War 2, so it was like a child in a candy shop. Ever since ‘Saving Private Ryan’ came out, it was a life long dream to walk on Omaha beach. I believe I was in 6th grade when I saw that movie. So finally, at 24 years of age, the dream came true. I first stopped by the American Cemetery. The day was much like June 6th, 1944 aka D-day. It was cloudy, grey, and had rained earlier with a slight breeze coming off the ocean. I was in awe as I spent almost two hours reading names and taking endless photos. I felt as if my memory card wasn’t big enough to get all the graves and trust me, I wanted to get EVERY single one. I even found the “Niland” brothers, which is what inspired Saving Private Ryan.
After the cemetery, I made my way down to Dog Green/White sector. This is the part of Omaha beach they showed in the beginning of the movie, where the Rangers landed. The tide was slowly coming in and my heart was racing. I couldn’t believe I was actually here. I walked all the way to the surf and turn around, facing the bluffs. 2,400 American soldiers we’re killed on the very sand I was standing on. 34,000 soldiers would land on Omaha by the end of that day.
Today they have some homes and shops with a 2 lane road along the base of the bluffs. You can kind of see where the German bunkers use to be. I was hoping some would still be there but they weren’t. I remember closing my eyes and imagining gun fire, explosions, screaming and chaos. It was almost possible to hear what it all may of sounded like, until Tom Hanks voice kicks in “move up the sea wall!” I hope to return very soon. I could spend hours at Omaha.