Scott, a Juno Beach Centre guide, reflects on D-Day +72:
Working at the Juno Beach Centre, there are times when the big picture is clouded by day to day operations. Every now and then you have to stop and ask yourself: why am I here?
On June 6th, 2016, I was walking along Juno Beach with my 6 Canadian colleagues. We were on our way back home after having attended at ceremony at Canada House at Bernieres-Sur-Mer. The ceremony had been moving in and of itself, but it was the 3 kilometre walk home that the weight and reality of what happened here in June 1944 became clear. It is impossible to describe how you feel, as a Canadian, sitting on that beach at sundown on June 6th. That is simply because what happened here 72 years ago today is so beyond anything that I have ever even seen or done in my sheltered Canadian life. Ask any of the other guides that were there with me and they will tell you the same. There are 2 044 Canadians buried 7km inland from the beach, and more than 3 400 buried elsewhere in Normandy. 5 400 Canadians that didn’t have to be there, they volunteered to do it. 5 400 Canadians, most of whom hadn’t seen home in more than 3 or 4 years. How do you even start to imagine what had been going through their heads? Some people will try and tell you what they thought. I will not, because neither myself, nor the vast majority of the people that will read this have even the faintest clue.
Commemoration does not and should not have a hand book. We all remember in our own way. All that matters is that you make the effort.
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.