New Stele Commemorates 1st Cemetery on Omaha Beach
On a warm, sunny afternoon in July 2016 Odile and Philippe Josse, president of the Omaha Beach/Bedford VA Association, invited Normandy Allies team leaders Marsha Smith, Peter Combee, and Charles Frick to their home overlooking Omaha Beach. There, Philippe spoke of his desire to establish an additional and more visible marker for the site of the first American cemetery on Omaha Beach. Marsha, Pete, and Charlie confirmed the need for this and spoke of the challenge of finding the site even when the visitors know where the monument is located. Time has altered the landscape so that the existing monument is now below street level.
Over the following year, Philippe spearheaded the many facets of this effort with government leaders, local citizens, historians, archivists, and marker designers. Normandy Allies provided some financial support as well as historical editing by Peter Combee and translation by Walter Carter.
On a cold, windy morning in July 2017 our Normandy Allies group saw the new stele and congratulated the Omaha Beach/Bedford VA Association for its efforts in this very beneficial addition to the site. (In the photo) Peter Combee, Marsha Smith, Philippe Josse, Mayor Antoine deBellaigue of Vierville s/mer and Charles Frick paused to mark the moment. The Omaha Beach/Bedford Association will be adding floral landscaping at a later date.