If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Two approaches to remembrance

American Military Cemetery, Colleville-sur-Mer:

British Military Cemetery, Tilly-sur-Seules:

Both very dignified and moving, but with vastly different approaches to the idea of remembrance.

A comment in the visitors' book (made by a family from Scotland) at the British site which caused me to blink in the sunlight:



  1. If you're in that neck of the woods, take a peek at the Battle of Normandy museum at Bayeux, very informative.

    I still remember my visit to Tyn Cot cemetery near Ypres, which was incredibly moving. Small speakers on the footpath leading to the entrance slowly and quietly read out the names of the soldiers buried there, one by one. A screen cycled through pictures of the soldiers, if one was held.

  2. Not this time, but I did that museum when I was last over here. Very good. The Caen Memorial museum is exceptionally good, although its approach is very PC. Best has been the museum next to Pegasus Bridge, which was awesome. That, and standing on Omaha beach just visualising it all.

  3. Yes, we were there recently, I know what you mean by standing on the beach, looking round for somewhere to hide from a machine gun... ulp.

    Didn't get to Pegasus bridge though, miffed at that.

  4. Don't miss it next time. Look at the markers in the narrow space between the river and the swamp (perhaps the width of a country road and 200m long), where they put down three gliders in the space of three minutes, in pitch darkness, and then went on to take the bridge under hostile fire. Very humbling.

  5. Thanks for the photos. I want to visit that area in the future. My dad is a WWII vet and I want to visit some area where he served.

  6. You will find a heck of a welcome, let me tell you. People do remember, and sacrifice is still honoured.

  7. There's one in France, that I visited a few years ago, dedicated to the German losses (WWI, I think) - you enter it at a corner point, so this vista of widening black crosses slowly opens before you. Then when you get close, you realise each cross represents four dead on each side. Sobering.

  8. Julia, if you remember the name or location of that one please let me know. I am planning to come back next year with daughter no. 2, who has a keen interest in all of this, and that would be a great addition to the trip.

  9. We were in the Arras area, so I think it must have been this one, because I particularly remember the Jewish headstones described in the article...

  10. Thanks, Julia. Will add it to the list.


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