Images of 'The Big Red One' remembering its fallen on Omaha Beach

More than a beach: the division of the Spanish soldier who fell on D-Day returns to Normandy

On June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day, thousands of United States soldiers landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy.

An excellent report on Manuel Otero, the Spaniard who fell in the Normandy landings
The lonely remains of Sherman tanks that fought in the Battle of Normandy

The eastern half of Omaha Beach was assigned to the US Army's 1st Infantry Division, known as "The Big Red One", after the insignia of this unit. On that bloody beach 770 American soldiers lost their lives, adding a total of 3,600 casualties including dead, wounded and missing. Many soldiers drowned before even being able to set foot on the beach.

Among those soldiers was a Spaniard: PFC (private first class) Manuel Otero Martínez, a Galician native of Outes (La Coruña) who was part of Company A of the 1st Battalion of the 16th Infantry Regiment of the aforementioned Division. You already knew his story here thanks to Tropa Guripa. Manuel had emigrated to the United States after the Spanish Civil War and enlisted as a volunteer in the US Army on March 19, 1943. Manuel landed in the Easy Red sector. He died after passing an anti-tank ditch that was beyond the beach.

A Big Red One delegation has returned to Normandy to participate in the 80th anniversary of D-Day, which will be celebrated next Thursday, June 6. I've been following that division's Flickr account for years. Today it published a series of more than 100 photos in which he shows the visit of his soldiers to Normandy. The photos were taken by Sergeant Charles Leitner and Specialist Koltyn O'Marah.

In the photos we see the visit of these soldiers to Omaha Beach, to the Cemetery American of Normandy and monolith that remembers the fallen of "The Big Red One" near the aforementioned beach.

The name of the Spaniard Manuel Otero is inscribed on that monolith, as Tropa Guripa showed in a video in June 2022.

There is one thing that has caught my attention about these photos. Many of you will have already noticed it when you see them. I am referring, of course, to the look of the soldiers when they see the places where their compatriots fell, when they see their tombs and the monolith that collects their names.

These soldiers have grown up hearing the stories of D-Day. Perhaps they are grandchildren or great-grandchildren of veterans who fought in World War II. For them, Omaha is more than a beach: it is a sacred place that was watered with the blood of American soldiers.

For them, those crosses and Stars of David are not just another tomb: they are the place where soldiers like them rest, even younger, who went to fight for Freedom very far from their homes.

I dedicate this entry to Manuel Otero and the other fallen members of "The Big Red One" and to all those who gave their lives fighting for Freedom on those beaches. Let us never forget their sacrifice. Rest in peace.

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