Donald Weber

War Sand

June 6, 1944: D-Day
The epic of war, told by a grain of sand…

The seacoast of Normandy churns with a forgotten history.

In this visionary rite of images, texts, and scientific data, photographer Donald Weber, writer Larry Frolick and physicist Kevin Robbie explore the sand beaches where the D-Day invasion was once fought, inch by inch, hand to hand. Their task was to gather forensic evidence, and determine the fate of this legendary battle over time.

The war-relics presented here create an immersive experience on the theme of collective memory. They include WWII spy-craft and old Hollywood movies, dioramas and drone-mounted cameras, private post-war memoirs and wistful seaside photographs. These artifacts reveal war’s quantum traces. And they expose our civilization’s longing for a final victory over death.

War Sand seeks a great truth: What is history?

And what does it mean to us, its creators and survivors?

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October 18, 2014, 9:00pm. 18ºC, 88% RELH, Wind S, 8 Knots. VIS: Good, Broken Clouds.

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October 20, 2014, 6:42pm. 12ºC, 87% RELH, Wind SW, 6 Knots. VIS: Good, Broken Clouds.

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October 20, 2015, 10:06am. 13ºC, 71% RELH, Wind NNE, 10 Knots. VIS: Good, Scattered Clouds.

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October 20, 2015, 9:14am. 13ºC, 71% RELH, Wind NNE, 9 Knots. VIS: Good, Broken Clouds.

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May 2, 2015, 1:12pm. 11ºC, 71% RELH, Wind ESE, 13 Knots. VIS: Good, Overcast Clouds.

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May 3, 2015, 8:48pm. 13ºC, 76% RELH, Wind SSW, 9 Knots. VIS: Good, Clear.

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October 20, 2014, 8:37am. 13ºC, 100% RELH, Wind SW, 4 Knots. VIS: Good, Clear.

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April 27, 2015, 8:25pm. 5ºC, 75% RELH, Wind W, 10 Knots. VIS: Good, Clear.

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Omaha Beach, Easy Red - May 6, 2015, 9:57am. 14ºC, 62% RELH, Wind WSW, 19 Knots. VIS: Good, Broken Clouds.

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Omaha Beach, Dog Green - May 6, 2015, 10:18am. 14ºC, 62% RELH, Wind WSW, 22 Knots. VIS: Good, Broken Clouds.

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May 4, 2015, 1:44pm. 16ºC, 87% RELH, Wind SSE, 13 Knots. VIS: Good, Broken Clouds, Moderate Rain.

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Utah Beach, Uncle Red - April 29, 2015, 1:13pm. 14ºC, 81% RELH, Wind W, 17 Knots. VIS: Fair, Moderate Rain.

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Gold Beach, Jig Red - October 22, 2014, 5:52pm. 13ºC, 81% RELH, Wind WNW, 9 Knots. VIS: Fair, Overcast Clouds.

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Gold Beach, Jig Red - October 22, 2014, 5:22pm. 13ºC, 76% RELH, Wind WNW, 10 Knots. VIS: Fair, Overcast Clouds, Moderate Drizzle.

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Utah Beach, Uncle Red - April 29, 2015, 2:04pm. 11ºC, 81% RELH, Wind W, 17 Knots. VIS: Fair, Moderate Rain.

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Omaha Beach, Charlie - October 20, 2014, 10:16am. 15ºC, 87% RELH, Wind W, 8 Knots. VIS: Good, Overcast Clouds.

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Juno Beach, Nan Green - October 29, 2014, 9:22am. 13ºC, 93% RELH, Wind S, 3 Knots. VIS: Fair, Clear.

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Omaha Beach, Fox Green - April 28, 2015, 5:08pm. 12ºC, 54% RELH, Wind NW, 5 knots. VIS: Good, Broken Clouds.

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Gold Beach, Jig Green - May 5, 2015. 7:28pm. 12ºC, 66% RELH, Wind SW, 19 Knots. VIS: Good, Broken Clouds.

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Omaha Beach, Charlie - May 6, 2015, 12:23pm. 11ºC, 76% RELH, Wind WSW, 21 Knots. VIS: Fair, Haze.

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Seventy years ago, British commandos secretly excavated this fine sand for subsequent examination back in England with ordinary microscopes.

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21st Century technical advances now allow us a much deeper look into this elemental crush.

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The disparity in the degree of rounding of grains of the same size shows that, although originating on the same day and barring no major differences in hardness, the grains have not all had the same abrasion history.

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It must be evident by now that the soldiers of D-Day would have, in addition to everything else they endured, also suffered what can be thought of as micro-injuries as a result of weaponized matter bursting into smaller, microscopic fragments and penetrating the flesh.

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Munitions explosions were hot enough to melt iron and heat quartz, which creates specially formed microsphereules.

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A shrapnel particle accumulating a dense layer of sodium chloride (sea salt), which in quick time may render this D-Day fragment lost to natural history.

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A diatom clinging to a D-Day shrapnel fragment.

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The shell of a diatom, feeding off the iron of a shrapnel fragment from D-Day.

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The exoskeleton of marine algae that has enrobed itself in quartz armour. The diatom reached the end of its life, leaving behind its own intricate sarcophagus.

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The images in this microarcheology section all present various morphologies of shrapnel particles that we can decisively declare are from June 6, 1944: D-Day.

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It is apparent that high thermal forces were once at work here on the beaches of Normandy.

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a) Make the landing under cover of darkness.

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b) Take samples of beach material from above, and at, the tide line. Note any irregularities or visible defenses on beach zone.

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c) Withdraw without incident: DO NOT ENGAGE IN COMBAT UNLESS UNAVOIDABLE.

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