Beaverbrook Vimy Prize Blog – August 18, 2016

Today was our last day in Normandy. We started the day off by visiting Longues-sur-mer where German bunkers lined the coast. We were able to get face to face with the tanks and guns they used and view the English Channel from which the allies approached the continent. When you compare the cliffs between Omaha and Utah beaches at Longues-sur-mer with the smooth even sands of Juno Beach it is not wonder that the Canadians made the furtherest advances in land on June 6th, 1944. The Allies and the Germans were fighting on more even  ground at Juno but looking out from the bunkers at Longues-sur-mer the challenge was evident for the Allies. The landscape allowed the Germans to hide well and wait patiently for the upcoming attack.

We then travelled to the Normandy American Cemetery and memorial at Omaha Beach. It was interesting to see the difference in an American cemetery compared with the other Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries we have seen throughout the program. We then travelled to Pointe-du-Hoc to see the monument erected by the French for the American Ranger commanders who scaled 110 ft cliffs to liberate the area. Shell craters dotted the landscape like the craters of the First World War we sat at Hill 60 and the Caterpillar on the Ypres Salient.

Upon our arrival in Dieppe we commemorated a soldier at the Canadian cemetery and this evening attended a special vigil on the eve of the 74th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid in 1942. Participating in this vigil was very special for everyone. We were given the honour of being part of a special honour guard. I was taken aback by how well Canadians were being honoured tonight through the waving of flags and how welcomed we felt as honoured guests. I think that the attendees were proud to see youth partake in our shared history.

– Jane Harkness, Virden, MB


Click here to view photos from the 2016 Beaverbrook Vimy Prize program.

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