Photographer's Note

It's 6 June, D-Day, 2012.

In the previous two years I tried to remember to upload this photo on the 6 June, or D-Day; I took it in 2009. At last I have remembered. Keeping a photo aside for three years might be a little like keeping a bottle of wine, although I doubt if a digital photo either improves or deteriorates with age.

I searched on TE for other photos of the D-Day memorial but could find only a single shot of the sculpture. My photo shows what may seem a strange juxtaposition: a stark memorial in stone, and a young couple straight from a wedding celebration. Perhaps the flowers help to join the two ideas of commemoration and celebration.

I arrived at Omaha beach a couple of weeks after the ceremonies marking the 65th anniversary (I believe President Obama and other leaders were present), to find a large wedding party milling around the memorial column (incidentally, the photo shows only the bottom half of the memorial). After a few minutes the sun broke through and a couple who looked like the bridesmaid and best man moved away to enjoy some private moments as I was taking my photographs.

The sail-like or wing-like structures beside them and to the right of the column stand on the beach itself, and are covered by water at high tide. They were commissioned by the French Government to mark the 60th anniversary of D-Day in 2004, and were sculpted in stainless steel by Anilore Banon. They were intended to be temmporary, but in response to a petition it was decided to leave them where they are; they seem to have resisted well all that the sea and sky can hurl at them. The winged shapes represent the wings of hope, and of fraternity, and, hidden by the memorial, two vertical columns represent the rise of freedom. The flowers and flags at the base of the memorial might have lain there since the commemorative ceremony on the 6 June.

I've settled on St-Laurent-sur-Mer as the location for this photo; most of the shots of the beach in TE have 'Omaha Beach' as the location, and not once before has a photo specifying its location as the nearest village, St-Laurent - only a few hundred metres away - appeared on this site.

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