These road markers mark the path taken by the Allied Forces all the way from here at Utah Beach and Ste-Mere-Eglise to Bastogne, Belgium where the Battle of the Bulge took place! You can follow the same path the Allied soldiers took to fight their way into Germany and put an end to Hitler's power - it's all marked out for you. This highway is called D913 in case you were wondering about that!
While the beaches really look no different than any other beach, it's sobering to step out on them thinking about what happened here in 1944. It was such a turning point in the course of history and such a large scale mission - if any one small part of it had failed, then who knows what the world would be like now... And so much of it was just a little bit off - the landing here instead of 3 kilometers north of here - the paratroopers landing in Ste-Mere-Eglise instead of outside it and landing on a night there happened to be a house fire in town so everyone, including the Germans, was up for that - other paratroopers landing in the swamp area just south of Utah instead of just behind the German line, many of them drowning in the swamp due to the weight of their equipment - one of the Mulberry Harbors being taken out by an unusual large scale storm just weeks after being built...
Alex, Amanda, Casey, and Curt on Utah Beach
That building that you see here is the Utah Beach Museum (we didn't go to this one) - the significance is that it is built on the exact location of the major German defenses that were along the coast here - if the Allies had landed to the north they wouldn't have come in right on top of this!
We had been told that it was possible to find old pieces of D-Day washed up on the beaches, but we did not hold out tons of hope for finding anything. We wondered about this piece of metal (that is larger than it looks in the picture - it is over a foot long). You can imagine our surprise and excitement when Alex came over to Sonya just minutes after stepping out onto the beach with a spent shell from a rifle! We are told by Sonya's brother (who is really into all things involving weaponry) that based on it's size (3/4 inch base, 4 inch long casing) it is very likely to have come from either an Allied weapon or a German one (he even told me which ones, but I don't remember - maybe he will tell me again and I can edit this!). What an amazing souvenir of our trip! Can't wait to take it back to show to Curt's grandpa!
Alex with his shell casing - very proud of his find!