Normandy is definitely an authentic memorial place. Normandy is one of the most green and beautiful regions in the world. Yet, most of the people know about it because of a very important event that happened there. On June 6th 1944, an invasion of the allied forces took place there and that was the beginning of the end of the Second World War and of the Nazi Germany. The Allied Powers (U.S.A., Great Britain and Soviet Union) decided that a second front was needed so that Germany would be obliged to fight in two fronts and thus split its forces. The place of the invasion chosen was Normandy. If the invasion would be successful, the war would end soon. Indeed, less than a year later Germany surrendered as Soviet troops from the east and Anglo-American (with other allies) from the west, occupied it completely.

    The Normandy invasion was indeed a success, but a lot of soldiers died on that day. Especially on the Omaha beach 60% of the American invading force was killed or wounded.   The cemetery in Normandy is dedicated to all those brave men who fought and died for freedom of Europe and us all. This is an important historical event and the memorial is the least that could be done to honor those men. This year is the 68th anniversary of that important day.

    This cemetery is full of graves of heroes, who fought in Normandy or who contributed somehow to achieve the victory, such as nurses of the Red Cross who were taking care of the injured soldiers. It is a very popular place and as Marita Sturken supports, “the men and women who died in the war thus achieve a historical presence through their absence”.

    The contradictory thing is that this “sad place” is situated in a unique area which could be easily called “paradise”. The whole area is like a garden, full of trees and next to the ocean. Those people really deserve this paradise.

    A lot of tourists are going there to learn more about this historical event but mainly in order to obtain visual memory. Among the tourists are also Germans. During their visit they show their sadness for what happened. Some may even apologize for the faults of their ancestors. However, no matter what is the purpose of their visit, the consequence is that they prove that there is reconciliation between past enemies and that what happened belongs to the past.

    Furthermore, not only tourists are visiting the cemetery, but also survivors. This memorial is devoted, even indirectly, to them as well. They may go there in order to visit the graves of some of their friends or in general of their compatriots or to see what people have done for the people who fought with those that did not survive. In any case the memories from this traumatic experience are coming back to their mind.

    It seems that indeed the place can be the paradise and hell at the same time. This cemetery is a magnificent area but it is still a place full of graves of heroes. It also seems that memory has several subcategories because each visitor is obtaining different kind of memories by the end of his visit, but it is still a collective memory and according to Jacques Le Goff, “collective memory is an objective of power”.

    To conclude, what is important is to leave the past behind but not to forget it. These souls literally saved the world by sacrificing themselves. That is why, whatever we will do, it will never be enough to reward them for their courage and thank them for restoring the peace. Now, we are living in peace because of them. Let us not forget that….!!!!

Vasiliki

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