Support our mission
 
The French Resistance gets ready to blow up a train in a sand sculpture called "Sands of Remembrance" at Vierville-sur-Mer, France. Sand from all the Normandy invasion beaches was used to make the sculpture. Artists from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and France made the sculpture.
The French Resistance gets ready to blow up a train in a sand sculpture called "Sands of Remembrance" at Vierville-sur-Mer, France. Sand from all the Normandy invasion beaches was used to make the sculpture. Artists from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and France made the sculpture. (Michael Abrams / S&S)
The French Resistance gets ready to blow up a train in a sand sculpture called "Sands of Remembrance" at Vierville-sur-Mer, France. Sand from all the Normandy invasion beaches was used to make the sculpture. Artists from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and France made the sculpture.
The French Resistance gets ready to blow up a train in a sand sculpture called "Sands of Remembrance" at Vierville-sur-Mer, France. Sand from all the Normandy invasion beaches was used to make the sculpture. Artists from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and France made the sculpture. (Michael Abrams / S&S)
Two visitors look at a sand sculpture at Vierville-sur-Mer, France.
Two visitors look at a sand sculpture at Vierville-sur-Mer, France. (Michael Abrams / S&S)
A medic helps a wounded comrade ashore on D-Day in a sand sculpture called "Sands of Rememberance" at Vierville-sur-Mer, France.
A medic helps a wounded comrade ashore on D-Day in a sand sculpture called "Sands of Rememberance" at Vierville-sur-Mer, France. (Michael Abrams / S&S)
A soldier from the 1st Infantry Division — the Big Red One — leads other soldiers ashore on D-Day in a sand sculpture at Vierville-sur-Mer, France. The sculpture was around 10 feet high, with some of the figures life-size.
A soldier from the 1st Infantry Division — the Big Red One — leads other soldiers ashore on D-Day in a sand sculpture at Vierville-sur-Mer, France. The sculpture was around 10 feet high, with some of the figures life-size. (Michael Abrams / S&S)

VIERVILLE-SUR-MER, France — An ephemeral monument to the soldiers who stormed Normandy 60 years ago has risen on the shores of Omaha Beach.

Made of sand from the same beaches where thousands of troops fought and died in the June 6, 1944, invasion, the memorial depicts life-sized American, Canadian and British troops making their way up the shore.

“It’s beautiful,” said 79-year-old Bob Slaughter, once a member of the 29th Infantry Division, whose patch is visible on one shoulder of a sand soldier.

Slaughter fought at Normandy as a sergeant with the division’s Company D, 116th Infantry Regiment, back in ’44.

The White House Commission on Remembrance sponsored the “Sands of Remembrance” memorial. Sand sculptors from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and France molded the monument in six days, commission director Carmella LaSpada said Wednesday.

They used 50 tons of sand taken from the five Normandy beaches where the invasion took place, LaSpada said.

“I call them ‘my Michelangelos,’” LaSpada said of the sculptors.

Flanking the 29th Infantry Division soldier is a troop from the 1st Infantry Division, next to British and Canadian soldiers.

In the background, French Resistance fighters are preparing to blow up train rails with dynamite. On the other side, paratroopers float down onto the square at Sainte Mère-Église.

“It’s absolutely brilliant,” said Simon Moston, a visitor from Essex, England. “The insight behind it is great.”

Moston brought his wife and two daughters to Normandy to soak up the history surrounding the allied invasion.

“Sands of Remembrance” is just one of dozens of sights and events taking place for the 60th anniversary of the invasion on Sunday.

The 10-foot-high monument is on a boardwalk on the west end of Omaha Beach.

Every day, it is sprayed with a solution of water and wood glue to hold it together. Every night, it glows under candlelight.

Etched in sand is the inscription: “In honor of the brave souls who fought and died on these beaches of Normandy.”

Migrated

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up