Today was another busy day following Canadian soldiers through the Normandy Campaign in 1944. We have seen so much through the last few days that it is hard to pick one thing to single out to talk about.
An overriding theme that has struck me though is the appreciation of the French people for what these Canadians sacrificed for French freedom. I think people back home can be far removed from the actions of our Canadian soldiers during World War II to fight and defeat tyranny and murderous racism. Hollywood, which influences much of the public’s knowledge of what happened between 1939 and 1945, often focuses on the deeds of American soldiers. I think most Canadians will know about WWII through programs like Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers but don’t always know about what Canada’s role was and perhaps have forgotten these men in ways. The French have not forgotten. Travelling around to these locations not only makes me feel incredible pride in being a Canadian and learning what these men did for Canada, but also clearly illustrates how grateful the French people are for Canada’s sacrifice in fighting towards their liberation from Nazi Germany. I wish every young Canadian could do a trip like this and see the reverence still held for their country by the people of France after all these years. I knew that Canada helped liberate France but seeing the monuments and commemorative sites make it so much more tangible and real for me. The Canadian contribution will not be forgotten thanks to organizations like CBF but it will always be remembered and appreciated in France as well.
Once again, thank you CBF for this amazing experience!