Memory – Testimony

| April 28, 2020

We share with you the testimony of Alicia Dotiwalla, Interpretive Planning Manager of the Juno Beach Centre.
 
đź’¬ “While Juno Beach is undoubtedly a site of global and national significance, it wasn’t until I started working at the Juno Beach Centre in 2018 that I truly came to understand how much meaning this site holds for individuals, families and communities, across generations and across cultures.

As a second generation Canadian, my family was not in Canada during the Second World War, and there are no family stories that link to it directly. The importance of remembrance was instilled in me at a young age in other ways, especially hearing veterans speak at school assemblies on Remembrance Day.

Veterans’ stories are at the heart of everything we do at the JBC, and the opportunities our team has had to meet veterans on Juno Beach have been powerful and privileged moments. Before working at the JBC, however, I had not anticipated the added privilege of meeting with and hearing the memories and stories of visitors, including veterans’ family members; Europeans whose towns were liberated by Canadians; and especially local Normans who witnessed the liberation by Canadians and Allies, and who continue to devote so much energy to remembrance. As much as the individual stories themselves, the moments of exchange with visitors – whether in person or virtual – are always meaningful and are a continued source of motivation for the work I get to do every day. These exchanges also broadened my understanding of the intergenerational legacy of the Second World War.

At school, learning about the war through the testimonies of children who lived it left a mark, and sparked a passion for history that I have been fortunate to turn into a career. Today, I really appreciate working at a museum which, through its youth circuit, engages young visitors in a way that resonated with me as a child.

For me, the JBC is a place of community where people come to share, learn, commemorate, and remember. This is thanks to the veterans who founded and envisioned the JBC as an education centre and a place to look back in order to look to the future.”

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.

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