Posted: December 5, 2019
On May 30th, 2019, students from Sugarloaf Senior High School went on a life changing excursion to Europe to take place in the ceremonies commemorating the 75th year since the D-Day landings. Beginning in Amsterdam, the ~150 students and staff from Anglophone School District North spent 10 days travelling abroad, developing a strong understanding of the culture our country fought to protect and liberate in the second world war.
The students from Sugarloaf were fortunate enough to begin their trip with a canal cruise through the heart of Amsterdam, followed soon after with a guided tour of Anne Frank's house and a traditional Dutch meal. In the coming days, the students would go on to visit the Holten Canadian War Cemetery, the Airborne Museum in Oosterbeek, and the John Frost Bridge. Although both solemn and intriguing, these experiences were not as impactful for some students as what was to come.
Vught concentration camp was the next destination visited by the group. Many students underwent a strong emotional reaction at the sight of this location due to it's tragic history. As with many other stops along the journey, this location was an eye opener for many of the youth who travelled abroad and served to further their appreciation for the actions of our ancestors and for the liberties we have today. As difficult as this visit was for some students to handle emotionally, it served the purpose of demonstrating what our soldiers fought to put an end to.
From Vught, the group would proceed to bask in the beauty of a UNESCO World Heritage Site: Brugge, Belgium. After the chilling experience earlier in the day, the students found it a relief to return their attention to the beauty of Europe that the Canadians fought to preserve. The following day lead the students to France and included visits to The Canada Gate, three more war cemeteries, and perhaps most notably, Vimy Ridge. Students left the monument in awe of not only it's significance and grandeur, but also of the trenches and underground tunnel systems.
June 5th featured visits to the Bény-sur-mer war cemetery, a 360 degree theatre near a beautiful view, and finally, to Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer. This last stop, found adjacent to the beaches of the D-Day landings, provided the chance for the students to step foot on the sands of Lower Normandy, to step foot where Canadian soldiers did 75 years prior. The sight was described by some as "beautiful, but haunting".
June 6th, the 75th anniversary of D-Day, brought all of the attending members of Anglophone School District North together at Juno for an unforgettable ceremony with members of the Royal Canadian Legion and of the community of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer. With captivating words being spoken and several diplomats in the area, there was an added sense of importance to what was already the most important day in many of the student's lives. The remainder of the day was spent travelling through the community, attending ceremonies in Tailleville and Carpiquet, and speaking to two survivors of the holocaust.
Concluding the trip, the group travelled to Paris to experience the stunning Palace of Versailles,
and a guided bus tour of the city. Some of the most enjoyed stops were at the Arc de Triumph, as well as at a viewing area of the Eiffel Tower.
Sights as beautiful as those seen that day are among the many reasons the students at Sugarloaf are thankful to have had the opportunity to go on this trip; something most would not have done would it not have been for the school's planning and support. Some low resolution versions of photos from the trip can be found in the following album: http://sugarloaf.nbed.nb.ca/gallery/juno-pictures