Juno Beach, France
by Adam Goodwin | 2014 | Last Updated: February 20, 2014
In mid-February 2014, I travelled around France, Europe for a week. During the trip I was able to visit Dieppe, France; Gold Beach, France; Juno Beach, France; Vimy Ridge, Canada; and Paris, France. [Click blog post on Vimy Ridge]
During World War II, Germany occupied a large portion of France. In 1944, Canada and Britain invaded large parts of Normandy to attack the German troops and infrastructure in the area of Normandy, France.
The landings at Juno Beach were neither a success nor failure. Canadian and British troops faced many obstacles when landing at Juno Beach. Rough weather hindered their surprise invasion.
Juno Beach Centre
Today, the Government of Canada remembers the hundreds of Canadians who lost their lives during the Juno Beach raid, with a memorial centre. The centre provides the history of Canada, World War II, and D-Day.
They Walk With You
The twelve minute film, They Walk With You, uses real footage to portray the environment and task of Canadian troops during both the war and Juno Beach invasion. It portrays the most basic job of a solider during the war: try to survive. Try to survive for as long as possible.
The film ends with a family walking on the present Juno Beach. The family asks a simple question, when do we stop walking. Slowly, ghosts of soldiers appear walking beside the family as a symbol that the war may have been in the 1940’s, and many of the soldiers are now dead, but that the impact they had on the present Canada will never cease.
The film ends with simple words, ‘THEY WALK WITH YOU’.
Faces of Canada
One of the exhibits at the Juno Beach Centre I found most impactful, was a collection of quotes from Canadians from across the country – Faces of Canada Today. This is a contrast to the darker parts of the centre which focus more on the war, fighting and death. The Faces of Canada focuses on the Canada of today.
Some of my favourite quotes from the Faces of Canada room include:
An Inuit Canadian
I like freedom, wide open spaces. I feel more Inuit than Canadian.
A self-identified Canadian
Canada promotes multiculturalism. It is always here and it is good to keep our origins and that people are comfortable to say their origins. I am totally thrilled to be Canadian.
A Canadian with European Heritage
We are happy to live in this phenomenal mosaic of peoples. For the whole world, Canada is a symbol of peace and freedom.
A Canadian of Asian Heritage
Canada is a country where we have everything from sea to sea, the ocean, the prairies, the mountains, the cities, the nationalities. Canada is all that plus immigrant who came here to build one country.
The Past and Present
I thoroughly enjoyed the Faces of Canada and They Walk with You exhibitions as they combine the past and present. The past, at times, are dark and cloudy and full of some of the darker bits of humanity. However, we must use the present to prevent the mistakes we made in the past.
A Call To Action
We do not need wars. We do not need fighting. There are much more humane ways to work towards an ever-increasing interdependent future.
You may also be interested in reading: Peace on Earth (click here)
These are one person’s thoughts and opinions. I welcome and strive to get your feedback and own thoughts. Feel free to comment below or connect with me via social media.
Adam Goodwin is a Canadian working in the United Kingdom, and is a proud shameless idealist. His parents currently work in Cairo, Egypt. He has siblings and distant family in Canada and around the rainbow nation’s only home. Follow his year+ overseas on Twitter (@adam13goodwin) and on this blog.