Monday, July 11, 2016

Normandy Tribute

For most young people, knowledge of the D Day Normandy landing is based on the opening scenes of Saving Private Ryan. Those scenes and the various incidents depicted are factually correct but they do not depict the overall losses, the sheer scale of the loss of life.

Byter Charlie Z sent me an email in which he said “Looks like a Bytes subject…”. His email included a commentary about a tribute to the Normandy fallen that dates back to 2013, plus images. Charlie’s article follows. I have included additional notes at the end.
Normandy: Tribute
A large percentage of our country doesn't know of or care about Normandy. My guess is it has been removed from the text in History Books. 
A few weekends ago, British artist Jamie, accompanied by numerous volunteers, took to the beaches of Normandy with rakes and stencils in hand to etch 9,000 silhouettes representing fallen people into the sand. Titled The Fallen 9000, the piece is meant as a stark visual reminder of those who died during the D-Day beach landings at Arromanches on June 6th, 1944 during WWII. The original team consisted of 60 volunteers, but as word spread nearly 500 additional local residents arrived to help with the temporary installation that lasted only a few hours before being washed away by the tide.

9,000 Fallen Soldiers Etched into the Sand on Normandy Beach to Commemorate Peace Day.

What is surprising is that I saw nothing about this here in the US.
An overseas friend sent it with a note of gratitude for what the US started there.

Additional comments:

A pair of British artists have created this stunning installation of 9,000 silhouettes on a D-Day Landings beach to mark international Peace Day. The project, named, 'The Fallen' is a tribute to the civilians, German forces and Allies who lost their lives during the Operation Neptune landing on June 6, 1944. 
The design was the brainchild of Jamie Wardley, 33, and Andy Moss, 50. Together with a team of volunteers the pair travelled to Arromanches beach, Normandy, to create the silhouettes, which were individually drawn into the sand.
Achievement: Artists Andy Moss, right and Jamie Wardley, left said they hoped their art would remind people of the value of peace.
Those taking part made the shape of a person by putting down a stencil and raking the surface to create a distinctive figure. The shapes were then left to the mercy of the tide which washed away the 'fallen' after around four and a half hours. Speaking of the idea behind the project Wardley said: 'The Fallen is a sobering reminder of what happens when peace is not present. 'The idea is to create a visual representation of what is otherwise unimaginable, the thousands of human lives lost during the hours of the tide during the Second World War Normandy landings. 'People understand that so many lives were lost that day but it's incredibly difficult to picture that number.’

'You could see the horrific casualty of war when you stood on the cliff looking down at the beach. 
'Watching the tide come in and wash the bodies away was symbolic of all the lives lost in all wars, not just during the Normandy Landings.' Veterans and families, including some who have lost loved ones in recent conflicts have been involved in the project. Wardley, who has been working with partner since 2009, said: 'We turned up to the beach with a team of 60 people but by the end we had over 500 people taking part. 'There were people from all over the world who had heard about the event and travelled all the way to France to take part.

'There were others who happened to be walking by and wanted to get involved. 'It showed that people from all over totally understood the message behind it and I found it very overwhelming. 'Some people told us that they had lost family in the Second World War and others said they had lost loved ones in Afghanistan and wanted to pay a tribute to them. 'We finished all the stencils at about 7.30pm and everyone gathered and waited for the tide to come in. 'The last silhouette was washed away at about 10pm and it was incredibly moving."

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