I’ve always wanted to visit the Normandy American Cemetery which sits above Omaha Beach on the coast of Normandy. I’m not sure why. A number of my family served in the military in WWII, but none to my knowledge were a part of D-Day Invasion. Of the 10 or so relatives who served, I know of only one who died in combat.

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“The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves”
Visitors admire the sculpture “The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves” by Donald De Lue

As anyone familiar with this site knows, I have a fascination for photographing cemeteries. I see them as interesting, peaceful places filled with history, story and visual/photographic possibility. When I had the opportunity recently to spend a few hours at the Normandy American Cemetery with a camera, I have to say, I found it a difficult place to photograph. A steady flow of visitors are almost never out of frame, and the site is vast (covering over 172 acres). As I tend to shoot with extremely wide lenses, this often resulted in less than interesting photographs.

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D-Day Memorial
D-Day Memorial at Normandy American Cemetery and D-Day Memorial, Colleville-sur-Mer

Still, I managed to capture a few images which do justice to this beautiful place.

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Headstone, Normandy American Cemetery
Headstone, Donald E. Simmons, Normandy American Cemetery

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Stone sculpture at the Normandy American Cemetery
Stone sculpture at the Normandy American Cemetery

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The Chapel at the Normandy American Cemetery
The Chapel at the Normandy American Cemetery

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Graves, Normandy American Cemetery
Graves, Normandy American Cemetery

There are 9,385 burials in the cemetery, which is a sobering number considering 60% of those killed had their remains “repatriated” for burial in America, and there were 1,557 missing in action, their remains never found or identified.

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