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AP PHOTOS: D-Day Normandy sites today captured by drone

May 31, 2019
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This photo taken on Thursday May 30, 2019 with a drone shows Pointe du Hoc, near Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy. At the Pointe du Hoc, where Allied forces had to scale cliffs to silence Nazis guns, the limestone and clay cliffs have eroded but remains of the fortified location part of Germany's Atlantic Wall defensive system are a powerful vestige of WWII. (AP Photo/David Vincent)

SAINTE-MERE-EGLISE, France (AP) — Seventy-five years ago, American paratrooper John Steele dangled from a clock tower in Sainte-Mere-Eglise after his parachute got caught during the D-Day invasion, and survived.

Gunfire and shots have long ceased in the little town close to Utah Beach that is home to the Airborne Museum, but a mannequin and parachute still hang from the belfry to honor Steele and the Allied soldiers who died in the D-Day landings.

Using a drone, The Associated Press has produced a series of stunning aerial pictures and videos revisiting landmark D-Day sites, including Sainte-Mere-Eglise, the first town liberated by U.S. forces in Normandy.

In the nearby cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer, where 9,387 fallen U.S. fighters are buried, rows of white crosses and Stars of David are a strong reminder of the sacrifices made by some 156,000 Allied soldiers - mostly American, British and Canadian - who took part in the invasion, storming in from the English Channel and opening a Western front against the Nazis.

At the Pointe du Hoc, where Allied forces had to scale cliffs to silence Nazis guns, the limestone and clay cliffs have eroded since D-Day. But remains of the fortifications that were part of Germany’s Atlantic Wall defensive system are still there, a powerful vestige of WWII. 

And, in a stark contrast to the fury that engulfed Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, today a grassy knoll blends gently into the wide beach, small waves lapping at the shore.

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Follow all the AP’s coverage of D-Day at https://apnews.com/WorldWarII

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