“The D-Day landings in Normandy represent a turning point in the history of France and Europe as a whole, but also in the history of Canada’s coming of age on the international scene. It is these links between Québec, Canada, and France that brought me here to Courseulles-sur-Mer in order to learn more about what my ancestors left behind when they emigrated to Québec in the 17th century. Many soldiers -French-Canadians- came off the ships onto the land of their ancestors. These events of the 17th and 20th century, though different on so many levels, represent a parallel that feeds my interest for history. Beyond history, I hope to bring home from Europe as many memories and anecdotes as possible!”
“I have always had an interest for the history of the Second World War, and more generally for Canadian and European history. I did my studies in Drama, studying in both French and English, at the Glendon University College of York University in Toronto. I think this opportunity is ideal for me to continue learning my countrY4S history while abroad and further improve my second language. I started at the Juno Beach centre in January and can’t wait for the challenges and times to come.”
“I have always wanted to come to France, which is to me a land of culture and history. I’ve come across many tales of the heroics of France and all the events within during the Second World War. Many Canadians believe that the soldiers that came over to the European front were conscripted and had no choice in the matter, it is a myth that is quite prevalent in my home province of Quebec; I myself believed it to be true. But conscription was not a reality until late in the war, and all those who landed here did so as volunteers. It is a source of tremendous pride for me to be able to be here and honor their memory.”
“After interning in Belgium in 2016, I knew I wanted to come back and work in Europe. Having studied social sciences, I was looking for a job where I could interact with the public, as well as educate and raise awareness. The Guide Program at the Juno Beach Centre gave me this opportunity. Being here in Normandy and learning more about the Second World War also allows me to follow in the footsteps of my grandfather who participated in the liberation of the Netherlands.”
“Throughout my studies in history in Britain and Canada, I’ve grown to appreciate the extent to which historical events are often transnational phenomena, extending beyond the borders of any single nation or people. I find the cooperation that took place between the many different countries involved in the landings and the subsequent Normandy campaign to be one of the most significant aspects of the history of D-Day, many people from many countries who worked together to overcome tyranny. I am very proud to be here to continue the connection between Canada and Normandy, and to be able to honour the sacrifices of those soldiers who stormed the beaches here seventy-six years ago.”
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.