This year, schools from across Canada participated in a special commemorative initiative to send Canadian Flags and special messages to honour the 2,048 Canadians buried in Bény-sur-Mer/Reviers Canadian War Cemetery.
Canadian flags were sponsored by students, teachers, and community member; each supporter sent a message of thanks and remembrance with their flags. The flags were then sent to France and presented to the mayors of both Bény-sur-Mer and Reviers, Messieurs Delalande and Guérin, during the Canadian commemorative D-Day ceremony at the Juno Beach Centre.
During the evening ceremony at cemetery, citizens of both villages and the public in attendance were invited to assist in completing this special tribute by placing the flags at each of the gravestones in the cemetery.
In addition to the French and Canadians in attendance, a young boy from Ireland sent a special message to the Canadian students who supported this initiative:
“My name is Alistair. I am 11 and come from a small village outside of Cork city in Ireland. I am on holiday in Normandy for a week with my dad visiting all the D-day sites as I like the army. Today we visited the Canadian war cemetery and I was asked to place a flag on a soldiers grave. It was from your school and my dad took some pictures of this. I chose this soldier as he was the youngest one we could find. We didn’t look at all the stones as there were so many 2000 I think.”
The Canadian schools who participated this year were:
- Garth Webb Secondary School, Oakville, Ontario
- Chisholm Academy, Oakville, Ontario
- St. Paul’s Secondary School, Mississauga, Ontario
- Kyle Composite School, Kyle, Saskatchewan
- Pitt Meadows Secondary School, Pitt Meadows, British Columbia
- Vista Hills Public School, Waterloo, Ontario
- Centre Dufferin District High School, Shelburne, Ontario
- Orangeville District Secondary School, Orangeville, Ontario
A special thank you to the students of the Digital History Project for helping distribute the flags!
Thank you to all of the schools for participating this initiative and for supporting the Juno Beach Centre through your on-going commemorative efforts.
Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.