Yesterday’s post was all bout the jump, but there is a lot to cover about the town of Sainte-Mere-Eglise itself. I will start out by saying it is basically “party central” for the D-Day celebrations. The town is well preserved with a great museum, really a group of museums, right at the edge of town. This is also where many of the re-enactors cluster and celebrate. The town is very nice with a large central square surrounded by shops and the famous church. One thing that is really cute is that they still hang a paratrooper dummy from the church roof to celebrate PVT John Steele whose chute snagged on the church roof and left him hanging helplessly. He played dead for two hours before the Germans took him captive.
The bars all spill out onto the streets so they actually have performers in period costume and singing 1940’s songs which is great to listen to.
As I said, this seems to be the gathering place for most of the re-enactors. Here’s the weird thing – almost none of them are American. We ran into French, Belgium, Dutch, British and even Germans dressing up and playing American Paratroopers! And the vehicles were outstanding. All looked brand new and who knows where they got some of them. They must have very understanding wives!
That said, a number of groups were husband and wives or even whole families. Here is a picture of us with a whole paratrooper family.