“We ask that no commercial or show project be set up on the D-Day landing beaches or in the combat zones of the Battle of Normandy”

Tribune. On January 10, Hervé Morin, president of the Normandy region, announced on the occasion of his wishes the launch, for the 80e anniversary of D-Day in 2024, of a major initiative on the Normandy landings, “An event which would make it possible each year to retain a day or two more the many visitors who come to the D-Day landing beaches”.

Since this announcement, the media have echoed the project to create a “D-Day Land”, a “Large tourist park”, a “Colossal park at 250 million euros”, a ” performing Arts “, of a “Immense cinéscénie of the Puy du Fou type”.

We learn that this initiative, with fundamentally economic objectives, would be led by a private company whose creators are already at work and spotting on the ground; we can only fear the major commercial exploitation of memory which will necessarily follow.

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We, the children and descendants of the French soldiers of the 1er Battalion of Marines Commandos (BFMC) who landed in Normandy on June 6, 1944, under the orders of Commander Philippe Kieffer, wish to express to you our dismay and our total opposition to such a project on the very lands where our parents were fought during the D-Day landings and during the long weeks of the terrible Battle of Normandy.

Sensationalism and mercantilism

For your information, Léon Gautier and Hubert Faure, the last two veterans of the 1er BFMC, also strongly condemn this project. Like our parents, hundreds of thousands of American, British and Canadian Allied soldiers fought there, and thousands of them fell there in the name of freedom; they made it possible to drive out of France and Europe the enemy invader whose ideal was only the values ​​of hatred advocated by the German National Socialist Party.

Stamp issued in 1973 designed and engraved by Jean Pheulpin.

The staging of these events on, or near, places of memory and meditation as well as the declared desire for a commercial dimension are deeply shocking for us, for both historical and ethical reasons. They go against the message transmitted by our fathers and grandfathers, made of great modesty and sobriety in the evocation of the fights. Their message never sought to “relive” events to us.

We are aware that the transmission of knowledge and memory of this period of history for the audiences of the XXIe century undoubtedly obliges to adapt the modes of mediation. But this cannot in any case be done in a spectacular, festive and commercial fashion, to the detriment of the demands of historical knowledge, memory and respect. Neither sensationalism nor mercantilism can have their place here.

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