In 2007 when I was researching my film Medal of Honor, I visited Omaha Beach. It was a chilling and wonderful experience.

The U.S. cemetery in France is one of the great pieces of design.

One walks down a long meandering path towards the ocean and does not see the graves until making a sharp turn.

Grave of Frank D. Peregory, Medal of Honor recipient, killed June 14, 1944 among hundreds of grave markers going off into the distance

Grave of Frank D. Peregory, Medal of Honor recipient, killed June 14, 1944

Never call a Medal of Honor recipient a winner of the medal.

To a man, the ones who survived their actions will say they were doing their duty. Most didn’t make it back.

A Jewish soldier's grave with six pointed Jewish star amongst hundreds of crosses, dead flowers sit at base of closest cross

A Jewish soldier’s grave

 

Grave of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Brigadier General, Medal of Honor recipient, killed July 12, 1944, sits alone with a view of the cliffs and ocean

Grave of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Brigadier General, Medal of Honor recipient

 

bomb craters at Omaha beach look like giant, deep golf sand traps without the sand

bomb craters

 

A short drive from the cemetery is another memorial with bomb craters.

Seeing so many, so close together, it’s a wonder anyone survived.

 

Steep cliffs of Omaha Beach and ocean

Cliffs of Omaha Beach

cliffs above Omaha Beach from above, looking down at the vast ocean

cliffs above Omaha Beach

Standing at the vantage p0int of the German machine guns, thinking how those young soldiers below,

coming ashore were being rained down on by streams of bullets was chilling.

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Medal of Honor recipient Jimmie W. Montieth, Jr.

In order to receive the Medal of Honor a soldier must “go above and beyond the call of duty.”
One would think everyone who fought at Normandy would deserve one. They were ordered to fight and that doesn’t qualify.
Soldiers must put their lives in danger, usually saving their comrades and dying in the process.