This June 6, 2020, the Canadian ceremony commemorating June 6, 1944 at the Juno Beach Centre was more symbolic than ever, with the limited number of guests and their respective titles.
Out of respect for the families that were unable to make the trip this year, it was important to ensure an homage to the soldiers who gave their lives in Normandy for our liberty, and to those who have left us since.
Reverend Wilson reminded us of the important role that spirituality played for the morale of the troops in 1944. Given the exceptional times in which we are living, remembering this aspect of June 6, 1944 through an ecumenical blessing adds to the symbolism of the ceremony.
The Juno Beach Centre thanks the following guests for their participation
- Amy Baker, Plenipotentiary Minister, Canadian Embassy in France
- Colonel Pierre Haché, Defence Attaché of Canada and his wife, Shannon Haché
- Jean-Philippe Vennin, sous-préfet, secrétaire général de la préfecture
- Michèle Boisvert, Déléguée générale du Québec à Paris
- Anne-Marie Philippeaux, Mayor of Courseulles-sur-Mer
- Jean-François Guilbert, Deputy Mayor of Courseulles
- Reverend Dr Thomas Wilson Chaplain of St-Raphaël and the Var, and his wife Dr Dawn Cornelio – Professor of French, University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada)
- Bertrand Bouyx, Député
- Jean-Marie Bernard, Conseiller Région de Normandie
- Cédric Nouvelot, Vice President, conseil départemental
- Franck Jouy, President, l’intercommunalité Cœur de Nacre
- Daniel Granotier, Representative, Régiment de la Chaudière
- Hélène Forget, President, Association des Amis du CJB
- Marcel Pudepièce, Association des Anciens combattants de Courseulles
- Captain Annaert, commandant de Gendarmerie
- The flag bearers
Biography of Reverend Tom Wilson
Reverend Tom Wilson, Doctor in Theology, is interested in the history of the Second World War and has previously given conferences at the Juno Beach Centre on this topic. In 2007, he had the chance to spend a year in France on a university exchange program coordinated by his wife, Dr Dawn Cornelio, and organized commemorative services with Canadian students visiting Normandy, notably in honour of Canadian Chaplain, Walter Brown.
It was Padre Brown’s murder that led Reverend Wilson to explore all the Allied Chaplains killed in the Battle of Normandy, and to write the book, No Guns, Just God’s Glory, published by OREP in 2018.
After serving in the Scottish Episcopal (Anglican) Church for 5 years, Reverend Wilson now is the Anglican Chaplain of St Raphael in southern France where he ministers to a multi-national English-speaking congregation.
As a result of the COVID 19 pandemic and the particular circumstances surrounding ceremonies for the 76th anniversary of D-Day, Reverend Tom Wilson has been invited to the Juno Beach Centre for a ceremony which he officiated in an ecumenical manner. He has also been invited by the Mémorial Pegasus Bridge for a ceremony closed to the public in honour of the airborne troops of the First Canadian Parachute Battalion.
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.