History & Culture / Keeping America Safe

Developers Want To Turn the Beaches of Normandy Into a Theme Park

WASHINGTON, DC, Sep 12 — How’s this for a 21st century way to entertain your kids– A Disneyland-like theme park on the site of what was arguably the bloodiest battle of World War II, Operation Overlord better known as D-Day. It commenced on the sixth of June 1944. And now a new conflict has emerged over plans for an enterprise called the Tribute to the Heroes project [Hommage aux Héros].

According to the website History on the Net, on D-Day, 1,465 American soldiers of the First U.S. Army were killed on the beaches of Normandy, 1,928 went missing and 6,603 were wounded. “The after-action report of U.S. VII Corps (ending 1 July) showed 22,119 casualties including 2,811 killed, 5,665 missing, 79 prisoners, and 13,564 wounded, including paratroopers.” It is estimated that 2,500 to 3,000 British soldiers died that day and that Canadian soldiers suffered nearly 1,000 casualties, including at least 335 who were killed.

President Ronald Reagan’s son, Michael, believes that Normandy is hallowed ground that already attracts fervent tourists. One estimate is that some 48 millions of grateful and respectful visitors tour the site annually. In an interview with Newsmax, he put it this way: “It is a religious experience to walk those beaches. This is a tremendous disservice to history. World War II wasn’t a game … The area is pure, literally pure. Take them to Normandy. Take your family for a week, five days, like I did. See it, walk it, watch it, learn it. Museums tell you a story. You don’t have to go to a theme park. You don’t tell the story of Normandy with a theme park. Start selling Normandy other than trying to get kids to want to come to a theme park to ride a roller-coaster. World War II wasn’t a roller-coaster.”

Michael EHaskew is editor of WWII History Magazine. He wrote a piece for the Warfare History Network, pointing out that “Those young men who landed on the windswept Normandy beaches in 1944 were certainly not seeking the kind of ordeal that awaited them. But they went anyway, and the concept of a moneymaking venture that would essentially exploit their life-and-death experience is simply repugnant.

Opponents of the project are already mounting an offensive, and according to the Daily Mail a petition seeking to quash the theme park project has gained momentum. A spokesman for the French National Research Group, an organization of historians, condemned the proposed venture, saying, ‘The Normandy landings is a page in the history of France which should be respected…’ [it] lacks the respect for the veterans and those killed during the Normandy landings and the battle that followed’.”

The British newspaper, The Guardian, says a “go-no-go” decision for the theme park will be made in early October. At stake for the business group behind the Hommage aux Héros project is a money making venture that hopes to attract 600,000 visitors annually, each one of them paying about $33 for the privilege — just short of $20,000,000.

The Guardian quotes Sorbonne professor Bertrand Legendre who is leading the resistance to the Hommage plan. In Legendre’s words: “They [the developers] talk about creating the ‘wow factor’ of a ‘sensational show’ that will take place near the beaches and cemeteries of Normandy, which seems fundamentally immoral and indecent. The ethical principle of this commercialization of history is extremely shocking. We the children, grandchildren and loved ones of the American, British, and Canadian soldiers who faced the enemy fire wish to register our firm opposition to the envisaged Hommage aux Héros theme park. We are appalled that their memory should be treated as a tourist attraction … the eagerness of the promoters for a ‘wow factor’ is absolutely objectionable. Make no mistake. The passing on of memories is seen here as no more than a business opportunity … to give this project the go-ahead would demean and devalue pain and sacrifice and present our fallen loved ones as mere curiosities in a money-grubbing entertainment venture.”


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Anne
2 days ago

Are you kidding me? This makes me sick to my stomach. The people who are interested in making it into a theme part have no clue about what it was like on D-Day. My father was a bombardier pilot during WWII and was shot down in Belgium. Part of his parachute didn’t open and had to be hospitalized before he became a POW. The Germans did not even fix his shoulder correctly. Out of respect to the soldiers of D-Day, along with all of the other soldiers who fought during WWII the land should not be touched. My family grew up knowing the history of WWII and I could not be prouder than to have my father fighting for our freedom.

Tom
2 days ago

I have been there!! There is no doubt this is hallowed ground.RVN veteran, so thankful I didn’t have to cross that land. Eleven months later the war was over. This ground can never be belittled.Honor expected,Honor given!!

Linda
9 days ago

This is sickening. This is hallowed ground and should be treated as such.

Raggedy Pam
10 days ago

This is disgusting. I saw the beaches of Normandy and was amazed that anyone made it through.
The Allies were sitting ducks. There is an American Cemetery near one of them and it’s such a peaceful and beautiful place. I hope they don’t mess it up and dishonor those that fought there and died there. It’s no place for a theme park.

Bett
10 days ago

Next they will want to turn other historic sites into theme parks . Such as Gettysburg or the Arlington cemetery. The developers have no sense of decorum.

Momcat
11 days ago

just read elsewhere that amac is saying illegal aliens will strengthen social security! the illegals will pay into social security but not take anything out hogwash! I’ve dropped my membership. and unsubscribed!

William C Smith
11 days ago

When an apex predator claims the territory of another, it follows scent and ejects bodily fluids and matter over that deposited by the other. Is that what’s going on in this instance?

Marc Ziegler
11 days ago

When I walked on the Beach of Omaha a few years ago, I was taken back at how peaceful and serine the beach was at that time, other than a few steel beams protruding out of the sand, nothing was left to remind me of the terrible killing of close to 6,000 solders that day. How insensitive is it of someone to think it appropriate to build a Theme Park on a killing field. Next, they will probably want to build Condo’s overlooking the beach. Shame on them!!!!

Genny
11 days ago
Reply to  Marc Ziegler

I have walked these beaches twice. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life. I have also walked through 2 of the Nazi death camps that so many brave men fought and died to liberate. If money grubbing developers want to turn the beaches of Normandy, where so many thousands were killed, what’s next? Do they then turn the Nazi death camps into an “amusement park?”

CHRIS B GRODHAUS
10 days ago
Reply to  Genny

Holy S***! Don’t give them ideas.

Jim Keil
11 days ago

No,no, no no!!

James P.
11 days ago

The overall Battle of Normandy cost the United States 16,293 dead. If the investors proceed with this abominable project, I can just see their list of expansion projects. If we are going to build dance floors on top these hallowed graves, how about these suggestions?

Pearl Harbor theme park (2,345 US KIA)

Guadalcanal theme park (1,600 US KIA)

Anzio theme park (5,538 US KIA)

Saipan theme park (2,949 US KIA)

Battle of the Bulge theme park (19,000 US KIA)

Iwo Jima theme park (6,821 US KIA)

Okinawa them park (12,513 US KIA)

Just because one CAN do something, it doesn’t mean one SHOULD do something. We may all have brains but, apparently there is no guarantee that all of us will actually use them.

Lou
11 days ago

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !

anna hubert
11 days ago

I don’t think it is about making a buck it’s much too evil for that I’d like to know who is the backer of that project

Wendy Hampton
11 days ago

Oh dear Heaven! This is like building a Chuckie Cheese store over a cemetery! Makes me sick to my stomach! This is obscene.

Charles
11 days ago

ABSOLUTELY NOT

Kyle Buy you some guns,and learn how to shoot
11 days ago

These developers nowadays have no idea about WW 2. Old people like me remember all to well. Museum fine and maby some film shots made during the landing. NO DISNEYLAND CRAP. . Kyle L>

JR Fox
11 days ago

You don’t put an amusement park on any hallowed ground. Never put profit above honoring and respecting those who gave their lives that others could be free.

Stephen Russell
11 days ago

Id move said park Inland Away from the beaches esp Omaha
Maybe 100 miles Inland minimum
& revamp museums in area for park

Kim
12 days ago

Don’t let it happen. A museum and a park, sure. But to turn this site into an amusement park must be the brainchild of people like those who want to erase the accomplishments of Columbus, Jefferson, and Washington and rename “their” streets to honor thugs, such as Michael Brown.

Has everyone become so unserious that nothing is worth attending unless it’s “entertaining”? Keep the site educational, commemorative, inspiring. Stick to the facts, not to fantasy. Mon dieu.

Sharon Ormsby
11 days ago
Reply to  Kim

Exactly, it’s a sacred place, one like our Gettysburg, this is horrible. People are truly blasphemous and following Satan, these days.

Mike Kennedy
12 days ago

Let’s take the developer’s and give them a firing Squad.

Texas Resister 64
12 days ago

On D-Day on Omaha, I think about 25% of those who charged shore were either killed or wounded. If these developers are really serious about “giving the experience” to park-goers (it sounds blasphemous even to use the word) then along with their $33 they should have to draw straws as to who gets the total experience of death and disability.

And yes, you should envision the above with a sarcasm font.

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