D-Day — Sainte-Mère-Église

All this week I’ll be rerunning my six-part series on the D-Day Invasion of Normandy, France. Next week I’ll return you to our Baltic trip and beyond. In the meantime, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of Operation Neptune (the Normandy landings) and Operation Overlord (the Battle of Normandy) in the event we now collectively refer to as D-Day:

82nd Airborne commemorated in stained glass

The D-Day invasion of Normandy began shortly after midnight on June 6, 1944, when English and American paratroopers began descending from the skies to their respective landing zones. Unfortunately one element of the U.S. 82nd Airborne missed their intended landing zone, coming down instead into Sainte-Mere-Èglise, where German soldiers were waiting for them

Sainte-Mère-Église “Longest Day” memorial

Among the more fortunate that day was Private John Steele, whose parachute snagged on the church steeple. Here he hung loosely, pretending to be dead as many of his comrades were shot on their descent into the town. Private Steel would later be captured, escape, and later rejoined elements of the 82nd.

Private John Steele effigy suspended by parachute

Private Steele’s ordeal was depicted by Red Buttons in the motion picture The Longest Day, based upon the outstanding bestseller by WWII historian Cornelius Ryan.

Sainte-Mère-Église Church

More photos from the Sainte-Mère-Église Church:

82nd Airborne commemorated in stained glass

Sainte-Mère-Église Church

Sainte-Mère-Église Church


Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, travel

4 responses to “D-Day — Sainte-Mère-Église

  1. John Anthony Aragon

    Thank you.

  2. A wonderful memory of photos and story.
    See our Denver LST 510, Pete, US Navy survivor, 94.

    • Thank you so very much for your valiant service, Sir. Much appreciated.

      I rewatched The Longest Day just a couple of days ago in commemoration of the invasion and remembrance of those who perished on those distant shores.