Wednesday, 14 March 2018

True Patriot Love

Wednesday's focus was on the D-Day invasion of June 1944. The first stop of the day was at le Jardin des Canadiens in Caen where eighteen captured Canadian soldiers were executed contrary Geneva Convention rules. Their photos and names were displayed throughout the garden in their remembrance.

Next, we travelled a short distance to the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery where over 2000 soldiers are buried. We paid our respects by wandering through the rows of graves and gathering at the back of the cemetery with the D-Day Juno landing beach in view off in the distance. Mr. Wassink shared a short message based on Philippians 4:6, which was followed by the singing of "O Canada". The spontaneous moment of silence that followed was a powerful moment of reflection for all of us.

At the Juno Beach Centre, we were led on a conducted tour of the bunkers and tunnels which formed part of the German fortifications known as the Atlantic Wall. The tour ended on the beach where we could imagine the scene played out on that historic day. Following that, we went through the various displays in the centre and viewed the film "They Walk With You".

After lunch, we took time for a group shot on the cliffs overlooking the town of Arromanches and the Mulberry Harbour at Gold Beach.

The rest of the day was spent in the Omaha Beach region, one of two locations where American troops landed on D-Day. Upon entering the Normandy American Cemetery, we were struck by the impressively well-manicured grounds and the number of crosses present.

Our final stop of the day was at Pointe du Hoc which contained the remnants of the Atlantic Wall that were destroyed by the Allied naval and air forces. Students were intrigued by the landscape and described the lookout across the water as "breathtaking". Dinner was an exquisite three-course meal of local cuisine. We returned to the hotel once again realizing how grateful we are for being able to live in freedom in our great land.

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