90th Infantry Division Pic of the Week: Normandy, France.

Today, June 6th, marks the 67th anniversary of D-Day–the Allied invasion of Normandy Beach, France during World War II.  In honor of the event, all our posts this week will be D-Day related.

This Monday’s 90th Infantry Division Pic of the Week features a shot of recently arrived infantrymen pouring into the French countryside.  The photograph was taken on June 12, less than a week after the unit’s initial landing on Utah Beach.

I love this picture on many levels.  I can only imagine the energy of the troops, many just beginning their WWII experience, none of them knowing what may await ahead. You can actually see them jawing back and forth across the open road.  The two equally spaced columns marching forward, disappearing into the horizon, holds a certain artistic value.  The house on the right no doubt boasts a rich history, made that much more dramatic over that second week in June 1944.  In hours, maybe days, these soldiers would come to know intimately the infamous hedgerows of Normandy, like those flanking the left side of this road.

90th Infantry Division troops advance into Normandy, France only days after their landing at Utah Beach - June 12, 1944. (U.S. Army Signal Corps Photo, Courtesy National Archives)

Great picture, right?  Then I noticed it. I have looked at this photograph a dozen times and had never seen it before.  I even featured it in my first book, BOOTPRINTS, without noticing it.  But there it was.

Parachute canopy stuck in a tree from the Airborne jump into Normandy, France.

Look in the upper left corner.  It’s a parachute canopy stuck in a tree!  Remember that the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions jumped into Normandy, France the night before the D-Day landing to soften positions surrounding Utah Beach.  Some lost their lives before leaving their planes.  Many missed their targets.  Nearly all would be in for the fight of their lives.  And yes, some had their canopies get caught up in trees.  The Airborne jump into Normandy, the subject of countless books and movies, will always be remembered as one of “those” moments in American military history.  Makes you wonder what happened to the owner of this parachute.

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