Omaha Beach is surely the most famous amphibious landing site in military history. The 1944 D-Day landing in Normandy delivered the first blows of the Allies’ fight to push back Nazi forces and achieve an all-important victory for freedom.
It’s fitting, given this connection, that Omaha establish a sister city relationship with Normandy.
This week, Mayor Jean Stothert and a delegation of Omahans are in France to sign a sister city agreement with Isigny-Omaha Intercom, a group of 59 townships in Normandy. The delegation also is attending ceremonies to honor the Americans who fell in battle during the fight against Germany.
“History connects us,” Stothert told the French hosts, “and the future will provide many opportunities for cultural, educational, business and, most important, the personal relationships which are fundamental to all sister cities. It is an honor for the City of Omaha to develop a sister city relationship with this region.”
Omaha officials announced the sister city initiative on June 6 this year, the 75th anniversary of D-Day. In preparation, a delegation from Isigny-Omaha Intercom visited Omaha in March, and a group of Omaha representatives returned the visit in April.
A resolution approved by the Omaha City Council notes that “there is a centuries-old friendship between the United States of America and the Republic of France” and that Omaha is home to several institutions “devoted to the encouragement and the perpetuation of French culture and the French language.”
Isigny-Omaha Intercom becomes Omaha’s seventh sister city, in addition to Shizuoka, Japan; Naas, Ireland; Xalapa, Mexico; Braunschweig, Germany; Siauliai, Lithuania; and Yantai, China. Omaha’s relationships with these global neighbors over the years have enabled a host of rewarding intercultural events.
Now, Omaha strengthens its bonds with France, in particular recognition of the D-Day connection. It is an encouraging opportunity for new friendships and understanding.