On our second day in Normandy we traveled solo to Juno Beach to visit the beach, the surrounding town and the Juno Beach Centre.
We learned something while in Normandy, all of the Canadian troops (which made up about 10% of the war effort…huge if you consider that by the end of the war, Canada had over 1 million people in the military, making up almost 10% of the Canadian population at the time!), were volunteer. That’s right: there was no draft in Canada until the year the war ended (when troops were depleted) which means that most of the Canadians who fought in the war were volunteers. I was completely blown away by that…it just goes to show what kind of amazing people make up our country. Our grandfather was in the Navy during World War II but we know very little about his time overseas so when we get home we are going to start looking into it. The fact that he volunteered just somehow makes it more special.
The Juno Beach Centre was a really great interactive centre that focused not only on the war but also what was happening in Canada during the war. Very neat!
On D-Day, the Canadian troops that landed on Juno Beach pushed the furthest into France than any of the other troops at the four other beaches; a pretty incredible feat!
I could blog for ages about our time in Normandy. I am so glad we made the trip and definitely want to re-visit it (and spend way more time there) at another point. The trip really had an impact on both myself and my brother and really made us realize how lucky we are to be Canadians and to live in the time we do.