Colleville-sur-Mer American Cemetery

Officially inaugurated on July 18, 1956 with its memorial, this cemetery honors American soldiers and civilians who died during the Battle of Normandy in the Second World War, as well as those of the Army Air Force who were shot down as early as 1942. It is one of 25 permanent U.S. burial sites on foreign soil.

The cemetery replaced a provisional one, known as Saint-Laurent, established nearby on June 8, 1944. The first American military cemetery of the Second World War, it was designed by architects Harbeson, Hough, Livingston & Larson (H2L2 architectural firm). The landscape architect is Markley Stevenson.

Ten blocks, separated by the central aisle into two groups of five, form the space dedicated to the graves where the bodies of 9,387 people lie, including 307 unknowns and four women. Most of these people died on D-Day or in the following weeks in Normandy, mainly in combat. 14,000 remains, initially buried in Normandy, were repatriated to the United States at the request of their loved ones.

Lasa's white marble steles are shaped like Latin crosses or Stars of David. Every year, during the commemorations of June 6, 1944 and Memorial Day, two American and French flags are planted at the foot of each one, while associations take charge of flowering the graves to keep the intergenerational memory alive16.

During their visits, relatives and friends of the fallen can collect sand from the beach below and apply it to the engraved letters on the crosses or stars, to give them a golden appearance.

Three Medal of Honor recipients who fell in the Battle of Normandy are buried in Colleville:

General Theodore Roosevelt Junior (1887-July 12, 1944) (eldest son of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and distant cousin of President Franklin Roosevelt) (Block D, Row 28, Grave 45)17 ;

First Lieutenant Jimmie W. Monteith: on June 6, 1944, without regard for his own safety, he guided Allied armored vehicles through a minefield, then led his unit to capture WN 61 and hold its position despite heavy enemy fire (block I, row 20, grave 12);

Sergeant Frank D. Peregory: on June 8, 1944, he single-handedly stormed a network of trenches leading to an enemy machine-gun post and secured the surrender of over thirty Germans, enabling his unit to liberate the village of Grandcamp (block G, row 21, grave 7).

Other notable figures include

General Lesley McNair (block F, row 28, grave 48) ;

Brigadier-General Nelson M. Walker (block B, row 23, grave 47);

Quentin Roosevelt, youngest son of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and brother of General Theodore Roosevelt Junior (block D, row 28, grave 46); an aviator during the First World War who was shot down in July 1918, it was at the request of the Roosevelt family that his body was exhumed from Chamery and transported to Colleville to be laid to rest alongside his aforementioned brother.

Two of the Niland brothers (Preston and Robert), whose story inspired Steven Spielberg to write the screenplay for the film Saving Private Ryan, are also buried here (block F, row 15, graves 11 and 12).

Roy U. Talhelm, paratrooper with the 101st Airborne, killed on June 8 at Carentan, aged just 17. He had amended his birth certificate to enlist (Block C, Row 9, Grave 32).

On June 19, 2018, Private Julius Pieter joined his twin brother Ludwig buried at Colleville American Cemetery since its inception, after both men died in the sinking of their boat, the LST-523, a landing craft, which blew up on a mine on June 19, 1944. Julius' body was not found in the wreck until 1961, and was not identified until 2017.
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