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Sainte-Mère-Église (Municipality, Manche, France)

Last modified: 2019-01-06 by ivan sache
Keywords: sainte-mère-église |
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Flag of Sainte-Mère-Église - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 20 March 2002

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Presentation of Sainte-Mère-Église

The new municipality of Sainte-Mère-Eglise (2,531 inhabitants in 2016; 3,208 ha) was established on 1 January 2019 as the merger of the former municipalities of Sainte-Mère-Eglise (established in 2016 as the merger of the former municipalities of Sainte-Mère-Église, Beuzeville-au-Plain, Chef-du-Pont, Écoquenéauville and Foucarville), Carquebut (333 inh.; 854 ha) and Ravenoville (258 inh.; 1,165 ha).

The origin of the name of the town (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 13th century, the town was already known as "Santa Maria Ecclesia".

Sainte-Mère-Église 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-Église was liberated after harsh fights, which ceased only on 7 June when the first tanks arrived from Utah Beach.
The 11th-13th century church of Sainte-Mère-Église 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.
The Town Hall of Sainte-Mère-Église is Km 0 of the Way of Freedom, the route followed by the Patton Army from Normandy to Metz and Bastogne. The road is lined with 12,000 symbolical milestones that 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.

Ivan Sache, 6 January 2019

Flag of Sainte-Mère-Église

The flag of Sainte-Mère-Église is pale yellow with the municipal coat of arms in the centre.

Michel Hersent, 20 March 2002