One of the two landing zones of the allied forces of the 82nd and 101st Airborne along with Utah Beach, Sainte-Mère Eglise was also one of the first towns in mainland France to be liberated in 1944, also made famous for the American paratrooper John Steele , remained clinging to the steeple of his church.

The parachute drops began around 3:00 p.m., more than 5:00 a.m. late due to bad weather conditions, at the hamlet of La Fière, where a strategic bridge, a priority objective for the Allies to prevent German reinforcements towards Cherbourg, made the object of a bitter battle in 1944.

“There have been jumps by civilians from the Liberty Jump Team association and jumps by American soldiers but only with paraglider-type parachutes that the skydivers can steer and not with round sail parachutes,” he told AFP. Aurélie Renou, director of the Cotentin Bay tourist office.

For Jacques Villain, president of the “Instant Memory” association, “Sainte-Mère has become a completely unique memorial city. I don’t know of a city that creates so much emotion around commemorations. People are very fond of meeting veterans,” he told AFP.

Katia Boudon, 52, is one of the faithful spectators of these parachute drops. She came with her 8 year old son. “I’m here by duty of memory and because I think it’s something to live. Hearing the planes arrive and seeing the parachute drops, it takes your guts, and it’s easier to explain history to children “, explains this resident of the region.

“Airdrops are something that must be commemorated, it cannot be forgotten, it must be perpetuated,” said Hubert Achten, president of the Round Canopy parachuting team (RCPT), which also organizes jumps each year. “They are a bit like the Jeep Willys. Whole generations remember that it is the symbol of the beginning of the return of freedom,” he added.

According to the tourist office, the show usually attracts around 100,000 people. The parachute drops were followed by a ceremony at the Iron Mike monument attended by veterans.