Juno Beach ran between St Aubin-sur-Mer and and Graye-sur-Mer in Normandy. This pillbox at Bernières-sur-Mer is a constant reminder to the residents of the village of their subjugation under the Germans, as well as their liberation by the Canadians on D-Day. It is a tribute to all of the troupes who fought that day, German as well as Allied. As saturation fire killed German troupes all around them, the soldiers in this pillbox kept firing at the Canadians, killing 100 of the Queen’s Own Rifles. They were, themselves, eventually killed and the Canadians went on to be the only Allied troupes to obtain their objective on D-Day – to capture Carpiquet Airfield.
This pillbox is a Monument to both Defeat and to Victory. The people have reclaimed it and it is now just a part of their daily lives. But every year, thousands tour the D-Day Beaches; stopping at these monuments and reflecting is at the heart of each person’s pilgrimage. It is sobering and humbling to experience these beaches, with their ever present reminders of one of the darkest times in human memory. One cannot help but be changed by it. And isn’t that what a Monument is all about.