Last modified: 2003-08-21 by ivan sache
Keywords: manche | sainte-mere-eglise | lion (yellow) | church | crown: mural (yellow) |
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by Arnaud Leroy
Source: Michel Hersent
Sainte-Mère-Eglise is a city of c. 1,500 inhabitants.
The origin of the name of the city (litt., St. Mother-Church, therefore the church on the coat of arms) is controversial. It could have been named after a Germanic lord called Sintmer, or after a deformation of Marie. In the XIIIth century, the city was already known as Santa Maria Ecclesia.
Sainte-Mère-Eglise became famous on 6 June 1944 at 2:30, when soldiers from General Ridgway's 82nd Airborne Division were parachuted over the city. The 82nd Division, along with the 101st Division, was expected to relieve the hinterland of Utah Beach. On the evening of 6 June, Sainte-Mère-Eglise was liberated after harsh fights, which ceased only on 7 June when the first tanks arrived from Utah Beach.
The XI-XIIIth century church of Sainte-Mère-Eglise is portrayed in Darryl F. Zanuck's movie 'The Longest Day'. Soldier Steel remained hung by his parachute to the church steeple for two hours, during which he pretended to be dead, a few centimeters from a bell which constantly sounded the tocsin.
Sainte-Mère-Eglise is the starting point of the Voie de la Liberté (Way of Freedom).12,000 symbolical milestones were placed along the road followed by the Patton Army from Normandy to Metz and Bastogne (Belgium). Those milestones were designed by François-Victor Cogné in 1947 as a tribute to the USA. The milestones bear 48 stars, a torch inspired by the Statue of Liberty, the emblem of the 3rd Army and waves symbolizing the Atlantic Ocean. Km 0 of the Voie de la Liberté is the city hall of Sainte-Mère-Eglise.
Sources: Guide Vert Michelin Normandie-Cotentin
Ivan Sache, 25 March 2002
The flag of Sainte-Mère-Eglise is pale yellow with the municipal coat of arms placed in the middle of the flag.
Ivan Sache, 20 March 2002