Salvaging the Normandie Beaches DDay Anniversary


Apr 11, 2001
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What with all the hype about Pearl Harbor lately, I had forgotten about today's D-Day anniversary until the news tonight. NBC had a segment on the son of a Navy Vet who is currently using various new technologies to locate the many items off Omaha and Nebraska beaches- tanks, weapons, personal effects-in addition to photography of wrecks like the USS Rich sunk offshore. The point was made that the landing offensive gets most of the attention while the Navy's part is sometimes minimalized-so this guy is on a mission. Then there was an interview with a French guy who for 20 years has salvaged the same area, opened a museum to display everything from howitzers to dogtags. He is ticked that this American guy wants all the wrecks turned into memorials and the salvage to stop. The Frenchmen says he is doing everybody a favor because the large debris is cluttering up the fishing lanes and nets. I must admit some of the stuff he brought up is fascinating but I did start to squirm upon seeing those dogtags. I thought about my cousin who died over Papua New Guinea in a bombing run on the Alexishafen airfield-it took me 2 years to find out what happened to him working daily- 47 years AFTER the tragedy-and I would have been so relieved to have had his dogtags-as no doubt the families of those men whose identification is in this man's museum. MSNBC had a further bit on a 9 a.m. So what do you think about all of this?
 

Kyrila Scully

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Shelley, I can't qualify myself to have an opinion on this for some reason. Maybe it's because all our kinfolk came home. And I came from a huge family. I wonder how many families can say that? Yet, I was deeply moved by the remembrance, and for me it was the story the one vet told of a little French girl coming up to him and simply saying, "Thank you."
So, to all the vets out there and where ever their spirits soar, thanks for your courage and sacrifice. I am one American who is proud of you (and of you Viet Nam vets also!)

Kyrila
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Actually what surprised me was that I have been supportive of Titanic salvage and restoration (up until recently) and viewed the clothing and effects with interest but am finding myself unsettled by personal effects of war dead being displayed. So the question is : Do artifacts somehow become "sacred" when obtained from those fallen in battle vs. artifacts attained from a non-war tragedy. One is quick to think- well, both are tragedies-all died- the value of life is equal-but I surprised myself by being distressed about the dogtags, but not as disturbed by say, a necklace or suit from the Titanic wreck. Any thoughts on this?
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Hello Shell,

I recently attended a World War One exhibition where a number of personal items retrieved from the battlefields at Ypres were displayed. I must admit that some of these items were so moving - especially a half finished letter written by an English soldier to his sweetheart and stained with his blood. At the same time I felt so guilty reading it because it was only ever intended for one person and who knows if she ever got to read it. It was a fascinating letter full of hope for their future which was never to be.
I've never really had a great interest in the wars but it made me wonder if perhaps such an exhibition was in good taste - just the way those with only a passing interest in the Titanic may view Titanic exhibitions.Of all the Titanic exhibitions that I have visited around the world, none has ever moved me, but is it because we are accustomed to the disaster and know all of the details and are therefore better equipped to deal with it?
 
Jul 10, 2005
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I think that any war or disaster, especially resulting in loss of life, will always pull at ones heart strings.
The half written letter stained with blood, with the intentions of only the sweetheart to read it....
The pictures of the shoes that lay side by side in the debris field.
The dog tags of those who are missing and presumed dead.
Bringing back items from such occurrences floods each one of us with emotions differently than the other.
I believe the reason the artifacts are important to me is because they belonged to a person, a real human being like myself. And because of this tragic, "historical" event, they are no longer with us.
Bringing back artifacts will sometimes bring closure to those who were personally effected by the tragedy.
I like learning about the people we lost. I like to honor them and pray to God that something like that will never have to happen again.
Each of us are effected differently by how we have been personally effected by it is my belief.
Just my thoughts....

Beverly
 

Kyrila Scully

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Beverly, you do have a point. That being even though these artifacts were personal and intimate, they focus attention on the lives represented, and when we focus attention, we bring honor to their life as well as their death, and they are forever remembered for their participation in those tragic events. Perhaps those who lost loved ones will be comforted that their loss has meant something heartfelt and inspiring to strangers who would otherwise never know their loved ones. I was talking to a Macy's employee yesterday about how deeply moved I was by the Strauss's story, and she was very proud about her association with their store.
Kyrila
 

Kyrila Scully

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It's really all a matter of motivation for displaying the artifacts, really. If purely commercial, then it brings honor to no one, and I'd have to agree with Shelley. But if it is a matter of pride for this man in France to display the artifacts of the soldiers who gave their lives to save his country, and he reminds visitors of that sacrifice, I do see honor in that.
 

Kyrila Scully

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(One more and I'll shut up.)
Even if the guy in France is displaying the items purely for commercial gain, and a visitor is moved to remember the sacrifice of the soldier, then it brings honor to the soldier in spite of the exhibitor's intentions.
 
May 5, 2001
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Actually what surprised me was that I have been supportive of Titanic salvage and restoration (up until recently) and viewed the clothing and effects with interest but am finding myself unsettled by personal effects of war dead being displayed. So the question is : Do artifacts somehow become "sacred" when obtained from those fallen in battle vs. artifacts attained from a non-war tragedy. One is quick to think- well, both are tragedies-all died- the value of life is equal-but I surprised myself by being distressed about the dogtags, but not as disturbed by say, a necklace or suit from the Titanic wreck. Any thoughts on this?

Hey Shelley, Umm yeah....I feel that the artifacts of personal belongings that were found at the bottom should be respected to the degree that they were once worn by a living being and should not be desecrated, now, if you noticed, I DO NOT BELIEVE that any shoes were brought up simply because that the way they were positioned on the ocean floor, they appeared to have been the shoes worn by a victim of the sinking...if you noticed in Ballard's book, he has a photograph of one such pair of shoes laying on their sides at heel to heel. Very eerie.

Regards,
Bill
 
Apr 14, 2001
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i do not see what the normandy invasion has to do with the titanic. this is two different things and if someone can tell me what this has to do with the titanic i would appriciate it jennifer mueller
 
Apr 11, 2001
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Jennifer- the comparison of the two relates to salvage, the exhibition of artifacts, the recovery of personal items from victims, and displaying them for profit. We pose the question do circumstances of war as compared to a peacetime loss of life make any difference in the way one views the salvage and exhibition of items.The particular program which started this thread explored many of the avenues we have discussed here on the board regarding Titanic salvage and display of artifacts.
 

Bill Willard

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Mar 24, 2001
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Interest has awakened in the Leopoldville recently. As of now it is under the protection of the French government. One of the French divers who has been down to the Leopoldville could just shake his head as he described the wreck, and all of its contents.

Bill W
 
Apr 14, 2001
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shelley thank you for your response on my comments on this suject it helped me understand what this thread is about and i see what this has to do with the titanic and i am glad that someone responded to this because i wasnt sure what normandy has to do with the titanic and now i do jennifer mueller
 

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