Human memories are short, especially when it comes to the important things. We all too quickly forget the freedoms we enjoy, the responsibilities that let us live in peace, and the importance of firm familial love.
We also forget the sacrifices of our military, the deaths of brave men and women whose blood has bought our safety. That’s why I find the “Fallen 9000” project so inspiring.
Take a look at the picture below. See those things that look like bodies?
They aren’t bodies, of course, but they represent them. In 2013, British artists Jamie Wardley and Andy Moss created these 9,000 sand silhouettes on Normandy beach, the site of D-Day.
Each form represents someone who fell on the first day of battle. And rather than focus solely on the Allied forces, Wardley and Moss’ artistic efforts also represented civilians and German soldiers who perished.
“There will be no distinction between nationalities,” Moss said in a statement. “They will be known only as ‘The Fallen.’
“This project will bring together people from all nationalities, backgrounds and ages. Together, we will make a piece of art in harmony as a reflection of a peaceful world in which we would like to live.”
The pair created the images by laying life-sized stencils on the ground and then raking the exposed sand into the shape of a fallen human form. But 9,000 silhouettes was a bit much for two men to tackle, no matter how great their dedication.
“We turned up to the beach with a team of 60 people, but by the end we had over 500 people taking part,” Wardley told the Daily Mail. “There were people from all over the world who had heard about the event and traveled all the way to France to take part.”
The installation, if one could call it that, stood for four-and-a-half hours before the tide washed it away. The poignancy of “Fallen 9,000” calls to mind Carl Sandburg’s “Grass,” a poem about war and our tragic tendency to forget as time sweeps on.
He wrote, “Pile the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo. / Shovel them under and let me work— / I am the grass; I cover all. …
“Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor: / What place is this? / Where are we now?
“I am the grass. / Let me work.”
Of course, this is why Wardley and Moss went to all that effort: We should be the generation that doesn’t forget, but instead remembers how the fallen have watered the soil of freedom with the life’s blood.
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