Art

The Big Picture: Sand and sacrifice 75 years on

This year the 160,000 Allied troops who fought for the liberation of Europe from the far right are being remembered across Europe and North America

As Europe stands united in solemn commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings for a brief spell the squabbles over Brexit and Westminster in-fighting are thrown into sharp perspective.

On Thursday on the beach at Arromanches (pictured above) at 7.26am, a Lone Piper will mark the exact moment the first British soldier landed onshore. At nearby Ver-sur-Mer the Normandy Memorial Trust’s D-Day statue will be inaugurated and events held at Bayeux, the first town to be liberated by Allied Forces.

This photograph of the beach at Arromanches shows The Fallen 9,000, a poignant commemoration by British artists Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss in 2013. The 9,000 bodies etched in sand between tides, washed away the same day, drew 600 townspeople to mark the deaths of civilians, Allies and German military personnel who fell during the  June 6 landings.

Ironically, the visit of US President Donald Trump to Portsmouth and Normandy for D-Day commemorations has drawn criticism from military personnel who feel his presence will detract from a serious moment of remembrance. Trump was himself excused from military service on health grounds, and his failure to condemn right-wing extremists has provoked condemnation.

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