The Sands of Remembrance memorial was a historically accurate 30’ x 30’ life size sand sculpture crafted in Vierville-sur-Mer on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. The project was initiated in 2004 by Carmella LaSpada, as the Director of the White House Commission on Remembrance and depicted soldiers landing in Normandy on D-Day. Commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the historic date, this tribute marked the first time in history that such an endeavor had ever been undertaken.
The construction of the Sands of Remembrance was completed by a team of award-winning sand sculptors from the Allied Nations – Canada, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States – a group which was organized and led by sculptors John Gowdy (U.S.) and Dale Murdock (Canada). They extracted 50 tons of sand from the five landing beaches – Gold, Juno, Omaha, Sword, and Utah – to create the momentous structure.
Due to the changing time of the tides, the memorial endeavor was originally considered impossible. However, Carmella LaSpada simply stated, “Then we will just have to change the tide.” Although her plan seemed simple enough, the Mayor of Vierville-sur-Mer agreed to allow the sculpture to be moved further up the beach to avoid any problems.
The Sands of Remembrance successfully transformed the hallowed ground of these beaches as homage to the heroes who shed their blood for freedom 60 years ago. It was created to serve as a uniquely symbolic and tangible reminder of the fallen soldiers of that day, one which deeply touched the thousands from around the world who came to see its majesty. One eight-year-old French child described the sculpture in one word: “Magnifique.”