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Old 06-05-2003, 04:57 PM   #1
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juno beach centre officially opens on friday

lots of great stuff here.

http://www.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/Can...104305-cp.html



Vets return to open memorial

By JOHN WARD

(CP) - There is a stretch of windswept beach on the Channel coast of France that is part of Canada, bought and paid for in blood.

It's called Juno Beach, a code-name thought up by some unsung planner working on the preparations for the 1944 D-Day invasion. On Friday, 59 years after Canadian soldiers waded through metre-high waves and crossed that stretch of sand under the lash of machine-guns and artillery, a new memorial centre will open to commemorate the sacrifices of Juno Beach and the wartime deeds of Canada's military.

The $8-million Juno Beach Centre is to be formally opened by Prime Minister Jean Chretien, with hundreds of veterans expected to attend.

Garth Webb, who crossed that beach as a young lieutenant, led a group that spent years raising money, cajoling governments and enlisting commercial and public support to make the centre a reality.

The French government contributed $1.2 million in cash and infrastructure. Canada added $1 million, as did the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. Much of the rest came from the public, from school collections, from commercial donations and individuals who paid $250 to buy a brick for the centre.

There is already a cylindrical monument on the beach itself, paying tribute to the young men from Canada, the United States and Britain who launched themselves against the fortifications of Hitler's Atlantic Wall on that windy Tuesday morning in 1944.

The new centre, though, will contain displays and exhibits commemorating Canada's participation in the Second World War, not just the D-Day attack on Juno.

Some wonder why it took so long.

"In any other western country, this would have been done 40 or 50 years ago," said retired general Lewis MacKenzie in a speech he made last year to raise money for the centre.

Many veterans, though, say better late than never.

Some suggest that the last decade has seen a renewed interest in Canada's wartime exploits. In the late 1990s, a series of 50-year anniversaries marking highlights of the war seemed to strike a chord with Canadians.

In 1999, a survey of Canadian newspapers and broadcasters declared D-Day the news story of the century.

For many, the scale of Canada's wartime contribution to victory in the Second World War is amazing.

The country had a population of 11.5 million in 1939. Its army was tiny, its air force basically non-existent and the navy could put half a dozen ships in the water. Five years later, a million Canadians were in uniform, the air force had hundreds of planes and the navy was the third largest in the world.

Canada's stature was never clearer than on D-Day. Of the five invasion beaches on the Normandy coast - Omaha, Utah, Gold, Juno and Sword - four were the responsibility of the United States and Britain, the superpowers of the day. But the fifth, Juno, was all Canadian.

Canadian bombers and fighters were overhead. Canadian minesweepers cleared the sea lanes for the transports. Canadian naval guns pounded shore batteries and installations. And Canadian landing craft carried the soldiers ashore.

D-Day was the greatest seaborne assault in history. The Allies launched 130,000 men, thousands of vehicles and tonnes of supplies from the biggest armada ever assembled.

In some places there was terrible slaughter, including Omaha Beach which was so searingly recreated in the film, Saving Private Ryan. On other beaches, including Juno, casualties were relatively light - half what planners predicted.

Even so, 340 Canadians died and 574 more were wounded during the frenzied hours of what German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel called "the longest day."

The young soldiers who attacked Juno were drawn from across Canada, their origins blazoned in the homey names of their regiments, which included the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, the Regina Rifle Regiment, the Regiment de la Chaudiere, the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders and the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment.

They rode ashore across the choppy waves in small assault boats, blinded by spray and splashes from artillery fire, choked by powder fumes, by the acid stench of vomit from the seasick and by the wet-dog reek of sodden woolen uniforms.

"You were more or less on your knees, all you could see was the pack, the backpack of the man in front," one old soldier recalled decades later.

They were frightened.

"You start to get scared when you don't know where the hell you're going," another remembered.

Death was waiting in the water, in the shallows and on the beach.

Machine-guns laid down lines of fire across the sand. Mortars and artillery snuffed out lives at random.

One reporter who landed later in the day never forgot a line of dead soldiers trailing up from the beach and across a patch of barbed wire. The last man died sprawled on top of a pillbox.

But enough got through to forge a beachhead. Tanks equipped with canvas water wings waddled ashore to wreck the pillboxes with point blank shots through their firing slits.

By dusk, the Canadians had made the deepest penetrations inshore of all the attackers. They dug in to beat off the inevitable German counterattacks. Long months of fighting lay ahead. It would be August before the shattered remnants of the German army would be driven from Normandy and almost a year before Adolf Hitler would shoot himself in the ruined capital of his failed Thousand-Year Reich.

But the young Canadians would be there for it all. They marched across the French coast, freed parts of Belgium, liberated the Netherlands and crossed the Rhine. When the war ended, some would be standing on German soil.

C. P. Stacey, the legendary official historian of the Canadian army, wrote with reverence about the courage of the D-Day soldiers:

"Every man had to face and overcome deep, unspoken fears within himself before he faced the German defenders of the beaches. These private terrors were, perhaps, even more formidable antagonists than Hitler's infantrymen.

"The soldiers who defeated both made the liberation of Europe possible.

"Free men everywhere should remember them."

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More related articles

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/C...na/CanadaJuno/

----

Juno Beach Centre official website

http://www.junobeach.org/Centre/index.html

----

A full days worth of world war 2 coverage will also be on CBC tommorow.
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Old 06-05-2003, 05:07 PM   #2
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cool

I'd like to go over there some time and play paintball!
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Old 06-05-2003, 05:16 PM   #3
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would that be like having a "celebration of halloween" service at a church in terms of disrespect?
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Old 06-06-2003, 08:19 AM   #4
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hahaha

no no

I'm pretty sure they'd supply the paintballs, even
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Old 06-06-2003, 10:12 AM   #5
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bassy thats not cool. not like your art.
sorry dude.
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Old 06-06-2003, 10:26 AM   #6
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Old 06-06-2003, 11:26 AM   #7
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why are you yawning?
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Old 06-06-2003, 11:28 AM   #8
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why did u say you'd be in Cork today?
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Old 06-06-2003, 01:03 PM   #9
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my plane crashed, and i had to swim back home.

plans change maddie, its the 90's get used to it.
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Old 06-06-2003, 01:32 PM   #10
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huh - the 90's?

f'ing Canadians...
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Old 06-06-2003, 01:44 PM   #11
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were a decade behind

that's why it took us so long to get a tribute to our fallen soldiers at Juno beach
and why the money for it was largely raised by Wal-mart I do believe

it's actually 1992 here
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Old 06-06-2003, 02:09 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Basstrap
were a decade behind

that's why it took us so long to get a tribute to our fallen soldiers at Juno beach
and why the money for it was largely raised by Wal-mart I do believe

it's actually 1992 here
its true.
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Old 06-06-2003, 02:52 PM   #13
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Any watch the CBC retrospective and commemoration?

PS- I'm glad we've emerged from the Canadian 80's.
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Old 06-06-2003, 03:06 PM   #14
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wouldn't it actually be 1993 here? if we were a decade behind

aren't any other canadians at work today? turn off newsworld.
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Old 06-06-2003, 03:23 PM   #15
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it's actually 1992 here
fucking hilarious
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