D-Day photos from 1944 and photos of vacationers at the exact same locations today [28 pics]

Jun 5, 2014 By Joey 22

June 6, 1944, marked a turning point in World War II as Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, forcing the end of the German occupation of France.

To mark this Friday’s 70th anniversary of D-Day, Reuters photographer Chris Helgren compiled a number of photos from that fateful day and took his own photographs from the exact same locations.

It’s sobering to compare the heavy events of that day 70 years ago with the casual vacationers relaxing there today, enjoying a lifestyle that’s enabled by those who sacrificed their lives on the same land…

Normandy Then Now 01

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Normandy Then Now 03

Normandy Then Now 04

Normandy Then Now 05

Normandy Then Now 06

Normandy Then Now 07

Normandy Then Now 08

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Normandy Then Now 10

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Normandy Then Now 13

Normandy Then Now 14

(via Blame it on the Voices)

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22 Comments

  1. Tracey says:

    It is very sobering to look at those pictures. A young man just 18 would be 88 today, my dads age. (RIP) I’d guess anyone who landed there was just a little older. Those who remember this war will soon be gone. I hope the history taught about it will be authentic.

  2. Anne says:

    Quite the comparison… Most of the people in the recent pictures would be totally oblivious to the history of the very ground where they are walking. It sure does put things into perspective. It is very sobering to think about and see what happened back then. We owe those soldiers so very much, but most of all our respect and to never forget their sacrifices. Four of my uncles were in W.W. II – only three returned.

  3. Gemma says:

    Not sure if these photos display the ignorance of people today in not being engaged in their surroundings and not appreciating the effects of war and devastation that comes from it, or if it’s a testament to the values these brave men fought for all those years ago for freedom and peace. Lest we forget.

    1. jerry kahler says:

      Most of the people out on the street, in airports, walking not watching anything going on around them, visitors, even people you are trying to talk to….etc. have a hand-held devise concentrating as if the Voice of God was talking to them or moving their fingers impossibly fast on same. To say it doesn’t bode well for the future is such an understatement! Many die because of this fascination to be in touch with someone, signifying little and quickly forgotten.

  4. Bernie Sharpe says:

    I watched the whole thing on tv here in Toronto this Morning, So Many Lives lost for US Wow
    God Please NO MORE WARS…

    1. jerry kahler says:

      If God didn’t want more wars, people like Dick Cheney and his superiors would overrule Him. We have now proven to the world that we thrive on the military/industrial complex and continual wars just like the U.S Supreme Commander, Eisenhower warned us back in 1947 or 8, when he left the office of President. We didn’t pay attention, soon forgot him and look what it has brought us.

      1. lupine says:

        That’s only wing claptrap. The so called military-industrial complex is only a partial explanation for overspending. The one who made the reference was the one who effectively led the D Day operation was the man who created the notion, Dwight Eisenhower. There is far more to war than Marxist pseudo economics. Sociology and social-psychology as well as megalomaniacal dictators and religio-fanaticism have far more to do with it.

      2. Jerry says:

        Eisenhower warned us in 47 or 48 when he left the office of President? He wasn’t elected until 1952 and left office in 1961 after Kennedy’s election.

  5. Will Lenssen says:

    My father was in the Dutch Resistance with his brother at the time with mom and her family waiting in Nederland for the Canadian Liberation. My wife and I ventured here at the urging of our son who posted these on COHS’ web site Twitter. We walked every inch of that Beach. That first picture with the home – the left side is a place where all veterans can book a stay when returning. And you have to visit the Canadian Memorial at Juno Beach. It replaced an old Canadian Tank pulled from one of the canals. Truly, Canadian and allied lives were lost. All of Europe was Liberated because of this day. Let us NEVER forget; let us never experience it again. And yet, war goes on. Wow! What don’t we get? God bless the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the earth!

    1. Gordon Woollard says:

      Actually, I think that was the Tank Sgt Leo Gariepy pulled from he water on the beach and had refurbished as a memorial. I wonder what happened to it.

  6. Hank says:

    I was born and raised on the west coast of the Netherlands, but am a proud Canadian citizen today, living on the west coast of Canada. Thanks to the Canadians I can be what I want to be, and where to be.

  7. Jeff Peyton says:

    That entire beach should be declared a shrine—people who want to indulge in recreation should find alternative places, not ground on which people gave their lives to free their forebears who were victims of Nazi German tyranny.

    1. Lois Tart says:

      Certainly agree; these are areas which deserve to be made shrines. Doubt if most of the people vacationing think much about what happened there and the sacrifices that were made for them to even be there today.

  8. Jamie D says:

    You know Jeff you’re right. At least block off portions of each beach with memorials or something. I don’t think I could actually lay there myself.

  9. Bonisue says:

    My 24 year old cousin was among those who lost their lives at Normandy just two months before his wife gave birth to their only child. She never remarried and raised their daughter alone. For this reason the subject of D-Day has always been painful to me. He was buried in France for two years and after the war he was brought back to the USA for burial and lies at rest in the small Winchester (VA) National Cemetery which is the closest (family was told) that they could get him to his home in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

    I am in favor of a memorial being placed where our troops landed with the names of those who lost their lives there like they have placed them in DC for Vietnam, WWII and the Korean Conflict.

  10. Guus says:

    Praise to our allies,and all others believing in freedom and democracy//Vacationaires can pay their respect on the nearby cemetries and war-monuments//Important though to remind,younger generations,to keep watching the “excellent HISTORY channel”,which deals with the horrors of Nasism,from Holocsts too Neurenberg trials,and those causing ,and imposing that horrific WW2 on the world/

  11. CDR Harry Nesbitt, USN ( Ret ) says:

    NO MORE MEMORIALS, Please !
    I retired in 1979, after more than 30 yrs on Active Duty in USN, including service in Korea and in the Vietnam Conflict.
    Please permit European and Asian inhabitants their well-earned vacations without undue regard of Our Shameful Conduct in the past !
    Harry

  12. Eileen says:

    Thank you for posting these incredible photographs that are a true testament of why we have what we do today. These really made me pause to remember all those lives lost to ensure our freedom. If only we had true peace in the world.

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