Remembering D-Day 2014

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day. I was in Chapters looking at books when I spotted the D-Day display. How easily we can forget, particularly over here in Canada, so far away from the coast of Normady.

But I had actually visited the place it all happened. Thinking back on that visit, I remember what it felt like to be at Juno and Dieppe, and to breathe the air where so, so many people fought and died for freedom and their cause.

In 2012, my partner, son and I took a very special trip to France. I even wrote about it on Sister Leadership. And it didn’t go as you might have expected. Of course Paris is beautiful and thrilling, but it doesn’t touch the experience of Normandy. There is something so solemn about visiting Dieppe and Juno – locations that were only stories in my mind suddenly became alive. There is the beach where soldiers landed and faced the bullets. There are the craggy shores they had to navigate. There are the poppies in the fields. There are the simple white graves lined row after row after row after row.

The memory of D-Day feels as fragile as the poppy’s petals. We can let those important moments slip away all too easily. But in 2012, as I stood there on the beach and contemplated that D-Day battle, I felt something deep in my soul. The feeling still resonates through my body.

How could I forget? I asked myself in the Chapters, looking at the display. How could this moment be forgotten? Sometimes it is far too easy to let these moment go. But they are so utterly important. They are horrors, they are heartbreaks, they are the reality of war – and now, if you are able to go and visit, they are marked in time by the empty quiet beaches and stretches of land.

It really happened. The fighting really took place. If the body doesn’t forget trauma, I image the landscape doesn’t forget it either. All the way over here we need the reminders because it is important to pause.

So today is D-Day, and we at Sister Leadership would like to take that moment of pause and remember.

This post is dedicated to all of those who fought and all of those who remember. May we not forget the lessons you gave us, and for which you paid such an incredibly high price.


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