D-day, today and yesterday

While on a short documentation trip in the steps of Yvonne and her family (evoked a couple of weeks ago in Le fil rouge), I witnessed some of the festivities surrounding the 71st commemoration of D-day, mostly in Arromanches-les-Bains. Here are a couple of pictures I took, with a particular focus on the presence of the British war veterans. In the reenactment atmosphere featuring an impressive amount of militaria, they were certainly the most real silhouettes in the crowd, and I allowed myself to follow them with my camera in a way I would otherwise consider too invasive.

I was in particular touched by this scene where a war veteran is picking a postcard among the reproductions of 1944 photographs of the Normandy landings; from afar, he looks like he is choosing the most evocative postcard to send home. But who can say how these black and white iconic images, which place us at a safe and sober distance from long-past and tragic moments, dialogue with his own visual memories? The person accompanying him (his daughter, maybe) is presenting him a contemporary postcard of Arromanches-les-Bains, bathing in blue skies. More Arromanches-les-Bains, less Gold Beach. Anchored in a blue present, it looks like a postcard the war veteran would send back to his younger self, to encourage him. Later on Saturday afternoon, we crossed paths again: he was eating an ice cream.

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