Rue Koenig, 50480 Sainte-Mère-Église, France
A story of liberation in NormandyOn the surface it might seem a bit out of place that a church honors warriors with beautiful stained glass. But in Sainte-Mere-Eglise, the first village liberated by the Allies on the morning of June 6, 1944, the central church on the square honors their heroics in two stained-glass windows.
In the opening hours of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France, members of the 82nd U.S. Airborne parachuted in and around the Norman village. This window was designed in 1945 to replace one that had been blown out, but also to honor the men who liberated the village.
Pvt. John Steele, immortalized in the 1959 book "The Longest Day" and the 1962 movie of the same name, is remembered in the village with a mannequin hanging from the church steeple. It was Steele who played dead for nearly two hours after his parachute became stuck on the steeple.
The church isn't the only sight in the village worth stopping in. The Airborne Museum is next door and well worth an hour of your time as you tour the Normandy landscape.