A visitor planted an American flag in the grass not far from the rows of graves at the Normandy American Cemetery on Memorial Day 2024. (Lee Ferran / Breaking Defense)

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France — Just as Paris rushes to prepare for the Olympics, the region of Normandy to the west is getting ready for its own high-profile celebration, this one taking place on and around June 6 for the 80th anniversary of the successful D-Day landings of World War II.

That explains all the temporary construction and the occasional bang of a hammer echoing over the hallowed ground here that is the Normandy American Cemetery. The periodic clangs, though, do little to detract from the solemnity of the place on Memorial Day with its rows upon endless rows of small white gravestones, laid out on a vast green field. And the construction work stopped altogether in the afternoon when distant bells chimed The Star Spangled Banner followed a few minutes later by a lone horn somberly sounding out Taps.

The field overlooks Omaha Beach, one of five beaches assaulted by Allied forces that day in 1944. Here are laid to rest 9,388 fallen American servicemembers, “most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and the ensuing operations,” according to the American Battle Monuments Commissions, which maintains the site. (Looking down at the beach from the rise of the plain make it seem like an impossible assault.)

Below is a small selection of photos from a trip today by Breaking Defense to the cemetery.

A view of the graves at the Normandy American Cemetery, with the English Channel in the distance on May 27, 2024. Omaha Beach lays unseen in between. (Lee Ferran / Breaking Defense)

On each grave at the Normandy American Cemetery is carved the name and details about the servicemember buried there. (Lee Ferran / Breaking Defense)

Directly opposite the graves at the Normandy American Cemetery is the landing site known as Omaha Beach and beyond it, the English Channel. Seen in this photo on May 27, 2024. (Lee Ferran / Breaking Defense)

The Wall of the Missing inscribes the names of American servicemembers who were never found after D-Day. (Lee Ferran / Breaking Defense)

Le Memorial, the centerpiece of the cemetery, stands as construction goes on around it in preparation for the 80th anniversary of D-Day. (Lee Ferran / Breaking Defense)

A visitor laid a wreath at the west end of the Normandy American Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 27, 2024. (Lee Ferran / Breaking Defense)

The beach assault was supported by one of the largest paratroop drops in history. At the Normandy American Cemetary, a model is dressed up as a US Army paratrooper would’ve been equipped. (Lee Ferran / Breaking Defense)

So-called “Czech hedgehogs” were metal obstacles left on the beaches and in shallow water in hopes of slowing the D-Day assault. This one is shown at the Normandy American Cemetery. (Lee Ferran / Breaking Defense)