Yesterday I remembered that June 6th is the anniversary of D-day and 2015 marks its 71st anniversary. Last year, the 70th anniversary, was a large event celebrated all over France, Great Britain, the US and Canada.
We had the pleasure of visiting Canada's D-day beach, Juno, last year during these commemorations while we were visiting Normandy. I'd love to share these thought-provoking pictures with you today.
Canada's JUNO BEACH CENTRE opened in June 2003 after nearly 20 years of fund-raising. It receives no funding from the Canadian or French government so it runs completely on donations and legacies left by those who love it and want to see its work continued.
|These words were read to the Canadian soldiers as their landing boats traveled towards the French shore. Oh, the fear these men must have felt.....|
|Right on the beach we were able to climb onto a sinking German bunker that is slowly slipping into the sand. These nearly bomb-proof buildings gave safety to the Nazis as they protected the "Atlantic wall," their hold on the shores of Europe.|
After touring the bunkers, beach and centre, we decided the next, very important place to visit was the Canadian D-day Cemetery in nearby BENY-SUR-MER. The land was gifted to Canada by the French people in thanks for Canada's role in France's liberation.
Here lies the resting place of 2049 soldiers, surrounded by Canadian pines and maples.
The main goal of visiting Juno Beach and its nearby cemetery was to give our three children a better understanding of our veterans, Remembrance Day, and the real reasons why we should always "remember." My husband and I were moved by how seriously all three children behaved and how even they seemed changed by the experience.
The rows of grave markers went on and on. The children looked for family names they recognized - we found a Pearson (my maiden name) and even a McConvey (our family name.)
Lest we forget....
I hoped I would find poppies growing amongst the stones like in the famous images I've often seen of war-time France. None grew in the maintained gardens around the grave stones, but nearby, just past the outer rows of pine trees, I found several wild patches of blood-coloured poppies blowing in the wind.
This poem was scripted in a dark room at the end of the Juno Beach Centre museum. Hanging beside it is one of the original crosses used to mark the earliest resting places of the departed D-day soldiers on the beach.
Now it hangs inside as a poignant reminder that we should never forget......
We will remember them....