Normandy Beach Memorial Sketched in Sand

13 Nov

We’ve all read the history books that quote the facts: Names, Dates, Medals won, Statistics; but it’s hard to really bring those facts to life in all their significance. There have been books, films, radio shows, and pictures that convey portions and glimpses into what the soldiers face, but still something is missing. We have seen the horror in the blood, and the screams, and the war–but we lose track of the sheer impact and how huge these battles were. Those things always focus on one team, one image, one person’s point of view. None of them really explain the magnitude.  We have personalized the wars and the soldiers, but sometimes its a good thing to step back and realize just how many individuals, soldiers, and warriors were involved. How many deaths.

Two UK sand artists, Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss, arranged “The Fallen 9000,” a small memorial to the losses (Allied and Axis forces) that died on Normandy Beach on D-Day in WWII. You’ve seen the movies, you’ve read the books, but have you ever really grasped just how many bodies littered the beach when all was said and done?  These two men came to remind us.   They started with 60 volunteers, but it soon grew to 500 as people realized what was going on.  Do you see the shadows on the ground? Each one represents a dead soldier. It just struck me. To look at this image and realize that if all of the bodies were arranged one by one like this you couldn’t turn around with stumbling over a body. 

Somehow, this simple memorial, made of shadows, sand, and impermanence makes a stronger impression than anything I’ve seen in a while. Maybe it’s because it was made of those things. The glimpses, mere impressions of bodies and men no longer among us. Of the sand that soaked up their blood, and lives, and the memories that once carved their way across the beach.  And the washing waves that slowly eroded the images to remind us that the past is behind us. Not forgotten, the sand has not really disappeared. Just, different. Evolving. Moving forwards. 

Now you can add on the horror and blood and missing limbs and screams and trauma that we’ve seen in the movies. This is a real glimpse of war, and Sherman was right–War is Hell.  So I know it’s a little late, but take a moment to thank your soldiers and your veterans. Thank them for taking on this horrible thing called war. Remember your dead and honor your survivors.  And never forget to pray for those who are still out there at this very moment. 

To our soldiers, THANK YOU!

One Response to “Normandy Beach Memorial Sketched in Sand”

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  1. sand-1.jpg | GOD LOVES YOU - November 20, 2013

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