When we were driving to Juno Beach, I was thinking how nice it will be to listen to an English speaking Canadian during our 11:00 a.m tour. I guess I am a real westerner and forgot that we are a bilingual country. Our guide was from Quebec and in a broken accent told us that he was learning more English since he has been a tour guide for the Canadian Juno Museum! There were some French speaking tourists and of course English speaking tourists so he gave his presentation twice. He turned our attention to the following sculpture of the young soldiers and said that during the war, these young men turned into men. I wanted to quibble with his comment since most “men” don't have such horrific experiences to endure in order to be called a man. However, he is right – that they were no longer fun-loving, carefree young men who once only thought of who he was going to date, what kind of car he would like to drive, and where he would like to live.
Greg and I were in awe of the war proficiency of the Germans as we looked at the triangular concrete obstacles that they placed all along the coast of France and Spain to make it difficult for anyone to easily surprise them and attack them. We stood inside one of the many German concrete bunkers that protected the soldiers so well. If anyone was able to get close to them, they could see them and shoot them. If someone actually did get closer, there was an effective means of escape.
As I sat and listened to a letter that was written on the beach of Normandy, I was reminded again of how young the soldiers were and how as a lover or as a parent, I would have been overcome by anxiety waiting for those letters. Then I looked up on a high screen to see the names of all of the fallen Canadian soldiers who died believing that they were fighting for a good cause – democracy. I also remembered those men like Greg's dad who fought in Normandy and were given the privilege to return home. And I felt shame that as parents, Greg and I never took our children to any Remembrance Day activities to give honor to these men.
Soldiers and civilians were warned that their loose tongues could help the enemy reminded me of James comment about the tongue: (James 3:5) “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire.!” I thought some of the following posters were humorous, yet forceful about the impact of the tongue when used carelessly:
Before we left, I read the following poem that was framed very largely but didn't show very well on my camera so I thought I would just type it. It comes from a much longer poem, but what was on the wall was a very appropriate stanza:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.