Beaverbrook Vimy Prize Blog – August 16, 2014

It’s a good thing our bus is comfy and our driver is fun because we spent a lot of time on said bus today! We were away from Messines by 8:00, and made our first stop three minutes later at the Irish Peace Park, dedicated in memory of the Irish soldiers who lost their lives in the Ypres salient in 1914-1915. We had a couple of presentations there, then drove for about an hour before we stopped to honour the soldiers Daniel and Lola had researched.

After a brief grocery run in Arras, we headed to Amiens to check out the cathedral – gorgeous and stunning … how they did all that so long ago is beyond me because there is no way we could do the same thing today – and have lunch. The afternoon bus ride was even longer, so we broke it up with a couple of bathroom breaks, so much-needed nap time, and a discussion on the end of WWI and the start of WWII since our destination today was Normandy.

We arrived just in time for supper, and then we ignored the wait period after a meal and went to Juno Beach. The sidewalks are still torn up from the tanks coming down in WWII, and there are Canadian flags everywhere; I am assuming some of them were left after the 70th anniversary celebrations in June, though there are always a lot here.

The tide was out tonight as we arrived so it gave us a very good idea of what the beach looked like for the landings. Some of the group went swimming and discoverend it was very cold but stayed in anyway. There was a strange game involving a Vaseline-d watermelon that was played in the water … I didn’t ask too many questions becasue I didn’t think I really wanted to know! What I do know is that the soldiers who liberated this beach would be pleased to see that they did not do so in vain, and that it is being used by multiple generations for multiple purposes: elderly couples and young families strolled along peacefully, horses were being ridden along the water’s edge, astronomers were setting up telescopes for a star-gazing festival, and a handful of teenagers from Canada played in the water while a handful more enjoyed the spectacular sunset. It truly is a gorgeous setting, and tomorrow we will walk the length of the beach from Canada House to the Juno Beach Centre. This is always an emotional day, so it’s an early night so everyone is rested up.

Loralea Wark,

Education Coordinator, The Vimy Foundation получить займ на карту