Every year, French caretakers spend hours preparing the grave markers at the American cemetery in Normandy — nearly 10,000 of them.

In the United States, citizens spend Memorial Day remembering and honoring the service members who paid the ultimate price for the freedoms and liberties the rest of us enjoy – but for those who never made it home, some of the host nations do what they can to honor the Americans who fell defending them.

In Normandy, for example, they routinely bring sand from D-Day’s most brutal landing site — Omaha Beach — and use it to darken the names and dates inscribed in the otherwise plain white marble crosses that cover the landscape.

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Iron Will

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