Memories – Testimony

| April 9, 2020

We share with you the testimony of Louis Lebel, Visitor Manager at the Juno Beach Centre.

💬 My connection to the Juno Beach Centre and its mission of memory began when I was a guide in 2012. Before that, I didn’t know of the museum and was not aware of the impact of the Second World war or the importance of the transmission of the memory of those who lived it. I grew up in Bernières in Quebec, but didn’t know the symbolism of that name. I decided to apply after a friend suggested I do it, he having been a guide before and had only good things to say about his time here. (notably he met the love of his life here)

I arrived in France in May 2012. It was my first time in Europe and my first time outside Canada since my trip to Disneyworld in Orlando in 1996. I had never lived away from home and had just finished my first year of university. At the Juno Beach Centre I found a team of young Canadians passionate about history and transmission. I learned tons about my own country and of the stories of veterans and of France. AS we arrived, we learned of the passing of Garth Webb, the founder of the museum and the first ceremony I was part of was one in his honour. Hearing all the speeches commemorating this man who gave his young years to the war and his old age to the mission of remembrance had a deep impact on me and set the tone for the rest of my time at the Centre.

Since my time as a guide, I have taken the Juno Beach Centre’s mission of remembrance as my own. I organised a guided tour of downtown Ottawa, themed on war memorials, to raise funds for veterans’ charities. I have attended many remembrance ceremonies and have continued a career in interpretation of memorial sites. Since 2017, I’ve been back at the Juno Beach Centre as Visitor Services Manager. In this capacity I recruit, train and manage the guide team. I have the privilege of shaping for the guides an experience that had been so transformative for me in 2012.

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 jbca@junobeach.org.

Leave a Reply