D-Day 75 years ago

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O’Neil Park, sign (Gardening For Ordnance) copyright 2018 Douglas Stockdale

Today, June 6th, 2019 is the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of France during WWII that eventually lead to the end of that terrible war. Also a day to remember my father who took part of this event, who was part of the Second Army (Amour Division), and if I recall, he stated that he landed on D-Day plus 2 (the third day of the invasion). It was not something that he talked about, except I do remember him stating that there was a smell that day that he would never forget. Dad was born on June 1st, thus on this day in 1944, he had just turned 21 years old. Sobering thoughts. On a bit of lighter note, this is also the birthday of my son Chad.

This is a sober time to reflect on one of my current projects, Gardening For Ordnance, that essentially is an “Aftermath Project” resulting from WWII. We would not be living on a decommissioned WWII practice bombing range if it were not for this war. There would not be buried a few tons of Ordnance and Explosive Waste (OEW) just feet beyond my back fence if there had not been this epic conflict and the need to have a place for the Marine fly-boys to improve their skills bombing targets before being shipped off to the Pacific war theater.

Regretfully conflict always seems to just be lurking under the surface, unseen, while providing subtle signs to be observed if you are diligently watching. Therein lies the conceptual idea for my inspiration and why I am working on this project.

Rhiannon Adam as discussed in her recent interview in issue Professional Photography (#25) about her photographic project that investigates the environment issues related to Fracking in the UK, that by employing a disruptive aesthetic, she alludes to the potential threats of the practice on the landscape and lives of those pictured.

Likewise, my Gardening For Ordnance project is not meant to directly depict doom and gloom, but I hope alludes to the potential threats of the practice of conflict found on the landscape, even when that conflict was very distant. Conflict will have a lasting impact, thus one of the many reasons we need to remember the D-Day invasion.

Peace

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