I meant to post this yesterday in observance of the 69th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy but time got the best of me so it was pushed back until today. I have always loved history (my dad was a history major in college, I minored in it) and United States military history is especially interesting to me. I had numerous close relatives who fought in World War II-a grandfather who fought in the North African and Italian campaigns, a great-uncle who actually participated in the Battle of the Bulge, and another great-uncle who was stationed in the Pacific. When I travel, I love to visit battlefields and cemeteries that are the final resting places for so many heroes. So for a slightly different Friday Fun Facts, here’s one on the D-Day beaches at Normandy (well, as “fun” as the topic of war can be).
1.) The USS Nevada, a battleship that played a key role in naval gun support, was the only battleship to make it out of its moorings at Pearl Harbor. Though heavily damaged, it not only was repaired in time to help at D-Day, but returned to support the Iwo Jima and Okinawa invasions.
2.) The names of 1,557 Americans who lost their lives in the Normandy campaign but could not be located and/or identified are inscribed on the walls of a semicircular garden at the east side of the memorial. This part consists of a semicircular colonnade with a loggia at each end containing maps and narratives of the military operations. At the center is a 22-foot bronze statue entitled The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves.
3.) Like all other overseas American cemeteries in France for World War I and II, France has granted the United States a special, perpetual concession to the land occupied by the cemetery, free of any charge or any tax. This cemetery is managed by the American government, under Congressional acts that provide yearly financial support for maintaining them, with most military and civil personnel employed abroad. The U.S. flag flies over these granted soils.