The European Reenactors Paying Tribute to D-Day Veterans at Normandy

Even some 80 years after the end of World War II, American veterans of the war still receive a level of exuberant reverence usually reserved for pop stars, famous athletes and world leaders. Crowds part for them like Moses parting the Red Sea, marked by spontaneous bursts of jubilant applause. Whether they fought at Normandy or not is irrelevant; the French, along with many other European civilians, can't show enough gratitude.

Visiting the area around the anniversary of the D-Day invasion on June 6 is like stepping back in time. In the days leading up to that date, thousands flock to the Cotentin Peninsula and Normandy Coast to pay their respects. The small, winding roads between the infamous hedgerows fill up with original, fully restored Jeeps, Deuce-and-a-Half Trucks and even the occasional M3 Half-Track, driven by men and women wearing World War II replica -- and in some cases, original -- uniforms.

These aren't just adults playing dress-up, showing off what they saw in a movie to look cool. Their uniforms are meticulously researched, historically accurate replicas, on which the wearer spends thousands of dollars, euros or pounds. It's their way of saying "thank you" to the surviving men and women who liberated them eight decades ago -- and for the veterans who have already passed, it's a way to keep their memories alive.
US Sherman Tank by Jae Salavarrieta is licensed under Unsplash

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