“Soldiers Of Sand” Documentary Omaha Beach Normandy

“Soldiers Of Sand” Documentary Omaha Beach Normandy


June 6th, 1944, first hours of the morning, the first allied troops are landing in Normandy. The bombers shell the most dangerous artillery batteries of the Atlantic Wall. At dawn, the Germans are stunned to discover an incredible sight. On the sea, an armada dances like a forest of steel. 7,000 ships coming from all around. More than the human eyes can see in one sight. More than 100,000 men are waiting for an order. Sea birds are silent. The crews are speaking in a low voice. The battle with the enemy starts at 0530. Time is suspended. Mom, forgive me for all the sadness that I may have caused you. If I come back alive from this adventure, I will do everything in my power to dry your tears. Sand / Memory Sea shell, debris, wreck… Wreck, bodies, debris, radio sets, shoes, weapons, helmets, mines, bodies, guts… It’s relatively easy to dig trenches in the Atlantic wall. Except for Omaha Beach. One with the sand, with the plasticity of the sand, with the depth of the sand. Debris, jellyfish, life preservers, shells, bodies, fires, guts… The landings carry on at an average pace of 30,000 men, 7,000 vehicles, and 30,000 tons of supplies daily. An unbelievable ballet of metallic landing crafts and amphibious trucks. Sinking in the sand, the plasticity of the sand, the depth of the sand… Sinking soldier’s packs, the boxes of rations, the oranges, the bodies. Flat-bottom boats washing up on the sand, doors open and spits out tanks, trucks, and soldiers. One with the sand, with the plasticity of the sand, with the depth of the sand. Apparition, disappearance, searching, throwing, hiding, crawling in the sand. Shoeboxes, sewing kits, notebooks, bibles… The sumptuous beach, established site. Scattered all over, photos, hand grenades, toothbrushes, razors, wallets, mirrors, metal… 600,000 men and 100,000 vehicles landed in 10 days. Demon, scream, shout, those of silica tongue, in the sands of memory. Water / Cutters At Omaha Beach, the operation almost failed. Men are screaming and dying. They’re everywhere, lying down all over. Wet sand sticking to your face, grinding your teeth. You want to speak. I have something to say, to say about life, about love, about pain. At Omaha Beach, the nightly allied bombardments were ineffective. In the morning, the first waves of the landings are welcomed by a sustained barrage. We are pinned down. Mom, I have something to say. Teenager in an adult disguise, you learn in one day what living meant. The amphibious tanks almost all sink before reaching the coast. The beach, narrowed by the rising tide, is littered with corpses rolled by the waves. The sea is blood-red. You left your heart on the edge of the cliff, you are innumerable, you saw too much… …you’re ready to leave, you float, you drift… …and on this side of time, too much in the other already. A shout, cries, the soul of the wounded won’t come back. Unavoidable tearing. Leaving is a sweet dream, the road to travel is a hard reality. The one who leaves doesn’t dream anymore, he let go a great shout. At the moment of death, his sight embraces the sky in an arc and sees the decaying spectre of light. His spirit rises. The soul was the spirit of the dead seeking the living… …and the soul is happy to see the sun. Your ghostly pale skin torments your memories. Vierville-sur-Mer, Colleville-sur-Mer, Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer… Three villages. Code name : Nebraska’s cities. Omaha. Bloody Omaha. The smell of blood, of scraps, of gun powder mixed with seaweed. 3. Fire / Blood Sacrifice, hourglass reversal. The sky becomes ground, the ground becomes sky. Now you can take charge of time. Surrounded by so many others you are innumerable, you are one body. Together, the one who lives with the one who dies. There’s no doubt about it, you will be welcomed forever to your homeland. You are eternal and conscious of it. Your work, your duty is to express it through time. You become a parable. The bullets weaves a network so dense, the crossfire makes it impossible to think about getting out alive. Men are ceaselessly assaulting the hill. Men alive and dead are piling up behind. There’s so many bodies on the beach, you could crawl across without touching the ground. Death is everywhere. With each second passing, death takes on different forms. Now, the horror of the next body, then, the horror of blood coagulated in the sand. Death takes the last form of being. Small groups of G.I.’s are able to infiltrate the plateau to flank weakening enemy forces. A moment for prayer. At Omaha Beach, more than 3,000 victims. 4. Salt / Face to face Soldiers overburdened. Carrying 35 kilos. Some are floating head down. Their boots are above water. Losing their footing, they tip over and drown. The face of the one who’s leaving is turned toward the future. Bitterness of the heart. Does man really need to cross the bitter water? The end of a world is for another one to be reborn. Could this bitterness ever be turned to life? A life of sharing, one of friendship, one of hospitality. Muted language of thoughts and feelings. It’s to degrade a face to touch it without love. Without love, it freezes. Mouth without smile, eye without sight, heart without a beat. God shaped man with clay and gave a breath of life. A long trail of man makes only one. Denied of his breath, he falls among the dead. An omission. Respect, slowness, patience… Deep, laying flat, nothing. Rise from the darkness to the light. Come back here. You imagine the night upon your body. Men in crowded positions. Time erases wrinkles. Face to face. Words spoken. 5. Light / Life Solitude. Your name is already written in sand by your child’s hand. Do you remember? The silica tongue in the sand of memory. You are innumerable, like grains of sand. Pinned to the ground with objects of battle. Broken handle shovel, pants, mine detector, belt… Buckets, bandages, cigarette, thousand of cigarette packs. Letter paper, those sea-sick pills. And this small piece of barbwire that I show in the light. How could I get closer to you? Sand runs off their hands through their fingers. The end of your scream, I will hear it in the land of shadows. As you are innumerable, you have a face… …and you are the one who restores the light. Who shows us life and white birds. Will you be able to make your voice heard on the lips of the living? This video is dedicated to all the brave souls that were lost on Omaha Beach. Closed captions in English provided by Guy Oliver Deveau and John Gowdy

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