Gordon Judges, Wireless Operator

Monday, August 22, 2011

Juno Beach

We would hardly be patriotic if we didn't go to Juno Beach where the Canadian  Juno Centre commemorates Canada's participation (both military and civilian) during WW II. The Juno Centre is a non-profit organization which opened 2003. Canadian,s visiting this centre are reminded of the diversity or melting pot of Canadian culture. Be sure to visit both the American and Canadian centres because they are both excellent in their special way.

Have you ever heard of Rommel's Asparagus? Hitler assigned Rommel to the fortification of the Atlantic Wall. Rommel ordered his wooden asparagus to line the beaches alongside these cement structures. In the event of an invasion, these structures created obstacles for allied tanks to advance to shore plus there was no way for a soldier on foot to hide for cover behind the open triangular shape.

We visited only one Canadian cemetery in Normandy -The Canadian Cemetery in  Beny - Sur - Mer. Each white marble grave-site bears the name and age of the soldier (if known). The graves are well maintained with flowers at each grave. This is the difference between the Commonwealth (Canadian, British, Australia, New Zealand, Egypt, etc). |The American cemetery are plain marble crosses (or Star of David) but there are no flowers planted and cared for and the age of the soldier is not given. The American cemeteries felt cool and distant....impersonal somehow....but to each her/his own. There is no correct way to honour such a sacrifice.

I could wander for hours between the rows reading the names and inscriptions on these graves....

Our tour of Normandy ended with a visit to beautiful Bayeux to see the oldest 'comic book' known to us today. It tells the story of a different kind of Normandy invasion. The famous Bayeux Tapestry dates back to 1066 (no, that is NOT a typo error) and is the only piece of art known to survive from the Middle Ages. The tapestry is coloured wool on linen and measures 70 metres in length. Now well protected in a climate controlled environment and behind glass, I have no photos to share.

We were more than pleasantly surprised by Bayeux, a beautiful cathedral town.

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