The World Peace Statue marks the entrance to Grandcamp-Maisy, a coastal town along the road leading to Vierville-sur-Mer.
Grandcamp-Maisy was part of the Atlantic Wall, the defence system the Germans built on Europe western littorals to block the Allied invasion.
The Germans installed two batteries – code-named La Martine and Les Perruques by the Allies – which had a range of fire that spread from Omaha and Utah.
Mine fields and anti tank lines defended these two batteries.
The Germans set up a third battery in the village, a couple of weeks before D-Day.
Tragically, the Allied bombardment conducted in the early hours of D-Day didn’t managed to neutralise the batteries, and the Germans opened fire on the American troops landing on Utah.
The Allied Navy eventually destroyed them on June 7th.
On June 8th, the US 116th Infantry Regiment 3rd Battalion entered and captured Grandcamp with support of the 743rd Tank Battalion.
The battery site was back-filled after the war. However, Garry Stern rediscovered it, thanks to old German ordnance survey maps.
He then bought the land and founded an open-air museum that extends over an area of 2.5 miles.
The German trenches, bunkers and various equipment allow visitors to travel back in time and experience the conditions under which the soldiers fought.
A Ranger Monument was also inaugurated on the site of the Maisy Battery.
World Peace Statue, a gift from the Chinese sculptor Yao Yuan
The Chinese artist Yao Yuan created a statue to commemorate the US Rangers’ heroic capture of La Pointe du Hoc.
Yao Yuan is a worldwide acclaimed Chinese sculptor, who was sentenced to work in a factory during the Cultural Revolution and later devoted his life and work for World Peace.
He therefore created a Statue of Peace for Korea in 1995 and one for Russia in 2000.
In 2011 he created the stainless-steel statue that stands on the Friendship Square in Beijing.
He depicted Peace as a young woman, who releases a dove. His statue has now become the symbol of peace and friendship in China.
Yao Yuan dedicated his Grandcamp-Maisy World Peace Statue to all those who fought in Normandy during WWII and donated the sculpture to the Normandie Region.
This beautiful masterpiece is a more elaborate and larger replica of the Beijing statue. Twenty Chinese workers from Yao Yuan’s workshops were especially flown to Normandy to install the 8-tone statue.
Chinese Flying Goddess – Christian Angel of Peace
Yao Yuan once more depicted World Peace as a young woman who turns into a magic bird that spreads its graceful wings and releases the Dove of Peace.
The artist successfully combined Asian an Western art. His young woman could indeed be seen as the Chinese Flying Goddess or the Christian Angel of Peace.
She is represented in the manner of a fluid calligraphy, which not only means Harmony and Balance, Serenity, Tranquility and Calm, but also gives lightness to the statue.
Yao Yuan’s World Peace Statue reflects the great basic principle of Asiatic thought, the Ying and the Yan of Existence or Harmony.
The artist produced perfect balance between symmetry, the symbol of Tranquility and Stability, and asymmetry symbol of Grace and Fluidity.
He engraved two Chinese characters in the front of his statue. The first means Modesty and Harmony, the second Peace and Tranquility.
He added also two letters: V for Victory; the branches of the V spread out in the manner of two arms wrapped around the World. W for World, Worship and Warm.
Symbolism of the colours
The colours carry strong symbolism.
The white steel and the sky blue are the colours of Peace and Reason in the face of injustice and war.
The red granite of the statue’s pedestal obviously symbolises blood, all the Blood shed during the war.
The green of the lawn, where the World Peace Statue stands, relates to Tranquility, Serenity. Green is also the colour of the Norman meadows.
Finally, the silver of the statue symbolises the Eternity of Peace.
As she takes off, the young woman sends us a message of Hope:“When we all want peace,
Why is the world full of conflict?
Why are endless wars still ravaging the earth?
Why do famine, poverty and plague still keep humanity in bondage?”
Her prayer is simple:“Citizens of this global community love our earth!
Together let us stop war and live in harmony!”
The moving unveiling ceremony of the Statue of World Peace took place on June 3, 2004 at 2pm.
It celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Normandy Landings, in the presence of the French Minister of Parity and Equality in the Workplace, Mr. Zhao Jinjun the Chinese Ambassador of China to France and officials of the Allied Nations with the surviving American Rangers as Guests of Honour.
The Peregory Monument stands near the World Peace Statue.
It commemorates the act of bravery of Sergeant Franck Peregory of the US 29th Infantry Division.
The officer indeed attacked a group of German soldiers on June 8th 1944. He killed eight and captured thirty-five of them on that spot.
Sergeant Peregory was killed in action six days later.
He was posthumously rewarded the Medal of Honour, the highest U.S. military distinction.
Department of Calvados
Coordinates: Lat 49.386802 – Long -1.037059
Gold Beach: Arromanches – Ver-sur-mer
Sword Beach: Ouistreham-Riva Bella
Rediscover all the landing beaches during the 75th Anniversary Commemorations