D-Day's Legacy: Gratitude and Tragedy in Normandy

Shortly after D-Day in 1944, Allied soldiers offered oranges to a hungry French boy in Normandy. The 80th anniversary of the invasion evokes mixed emotions for survivors. While grateful for liberation, they remember the high cost in lives and destruction caused by massive Allied bombings.

PTI | Carentanlesmarais | Updated: 05-06-2024 09:54 IST | Created: 05-06-2024 09:54 IST
D-Day's Legacy: Gratitude and Tragedy in Normandy
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Shortly after D-Day in 1944, American soldiers heading into battle against Adolf Hitler's forces encountered a hungry French boy by the roadside in Normandy. Their pockets filled with fragrant, brightly-colored oranges, they handed the fruits to young Yves Marchais, a 6-year-old growing up in Nazi-occupied France where food was scarce and rationed.

Marchais vividly recalls the 35 oranges he received, dashing home to experience his first taste of the strange yet delightful fruit. However, Normandy's mass bombing events left indelible marks; towns like Caen, Rouen, and Le Havre were obliterated. As France commemorates the 80th anniversary of the June 6, 1944, Allied invasion, emotions are mixed among survivors of the Battle of Normandy. Their liberation came at a high human cost, with 20,000 civilian deaths and the destruction of numerous towns.

French President Emmanuel Macron will honor the civilian victims this week, underlining the complex legacy of D-Day. "The Americans, for us, were gods," says Marchais, now 86. Yet, many Normans remember their homes shaking from bombardments that sounded like thunder and the tragic loss of family members and neighbors.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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