Two English artists, along with the help of many volunteers,
underwent a very ambitious and impressive project on a beach in Normandy, France.
Their mission was to honor those that died during the historic D-Day event,
and the result was absolutely amazing – just take a look at the photos yourself.
The Normandy landings, known to many as “D-Day”,
occurred on June 6th 1944.
On this day, an allied invasion took place on the beaches of Normandy during World War II,
only to become the largest seaborne invasion in history.
It began the invasion of German-occupied Western Europe, led to the restoration of the French republic, and contributed to an allied victory in war. Unfortunately, several thousand people died during the landings of that day.
In memory of the arrival of allied forces on Normandy, two artists, Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss, teamed up with 60 volunteers and 500 local residents at the same beach where the landings originally occurred.
On September 21st, the International Day of Peace, the group sketched thousands of figures in the sand using stencils and rakes. The result was an incredibly touching sand sculpture memorial composed of 9000 silhouettes, representing the number of civilians, German forces, and allied forces that died during D-Day.
Wardley and Moss appropriately named the piece, “The Fallen 9000”. They wanted to represent the real people of the event who were lost, those that once had lives, family, and friends.
When tracing the outlines of the many soldiers that fell on D-Day, they purposely made sure that there were no distinctions between nationalities.
Distinguishing which silhouette was on what side of the battle was irrelevant to the point the artists were trying to make; the project was meant to serve as a reminder of everyone who died on the beach, regardless of race, nationality, or what specific part they took in the landings.
There are many things in the Normandy area that commemorate D-Day, but this project was something different. It didn’t have anything to do with monuments, old weapons, or museums; it was something that was directly attributed to the people – all the people – that gave their lives that day.
It also didn’t matter that their hours of heart-felt work were washed away in a matter of hours by the incoming tide. The memory of what they did and who they honored still remains today and is continuing to be shared throughout the world.
The photos that were captured of the event show just how Wardley and Moss’ project was. Even if you have no ties to D-Day, it’s hard not to be moved by the image of all those bodies etched into the sand, stretching as far as the eye can see. It’s amazing that so many people showed up that day, the community more than willing to help commemorate those that died.
It really was such a wonderful and memorable way to honor those that fought so bravely, and an important reminder not to forget those that have passed.