Tourists traveling to Omaha Beach in France to pay their respects to the 9,387 soldiers who lost their lives during the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 will find themselves disappointed, as the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is closed, another victim of the U.S. government shutdown, according to the Associated Press.
The memorial site, which overlooks the beaches where the D-Day invasion occurred, is one of 24 military cemeteries internationally that have been closed to visitors since Monday, when the government went into a partial shutdown. There are ten more cemeteries located in France that have been closed, as well a some in other European countries, as well as Mexico, Panama, Tunisia and the Philippines. They will all remain closed throughout the shutdown.
The American Battle Monuments Commission, an organization that was set up after World War I, maintains the international cemeteries. There are almost 125,000 American soldiers buried at the cemeteries overseen by the organization. There are an additional 94,000 soldiers commemorated on tablets that recognize missing soldiers.
D-Day is the allied invasion of Normandy that occurred on June 6, 1944, though it was originally scheduled for June 5 but was moved due to weather conditions. It was code named Operation Overlord, and it is still the largest seaborne invasion in history.
The invasion occurred between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. with 13,000 paratroopers and gliders carrying heavy equipment from the English coast.
"The tide has turned!" General Eisenhower said in a broadcast message to the troops prior to their departure. "The free men of the world are marching together to victory...We will accept nothing less than full victory!"
General Dwight D. Eisenhower commanded the invasion. The beaches were code named Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword.
The Germans were expecting an invasion along the northern coast of France, and built up their troops accordingly near Calais, the area where the English Channel is at its narrowest.
Video about D-Day.
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