JOGGINS – Young men from small communities across Canada made the ultimate sacrifice in the First and Second World Wars.
Some of those communities do little to commemorate those sacrifices, while other communities do a lot.
Joggins falls into the latter category.
Last week, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 4 in Joggins hosted ‘From Vimy to Juno’, a travelling exhibit put together by the Juno Beach Centre, located in Normandy, France; and the Vimy Foundation located in Montreal.
“We’ve been open since May 2, and we’ve had visitors from London, England; Italy; New Hampshire; all over Nova Scotia, including from Cumberland County, and, also, from Moncton, Frederiction, and Saint John. Probably 300 in all,” said Dara Legere, secretary of Legion Branch No. 4, during official opening reception last Wednesday at the No. 4 Legion.
The exhibit kicked off its travels on April 1, 2016, in Toronto, and has since travelled to communities across Canada, both big and small.
The exhibit showcases Canada’s involvement in France during the two world wars, and the legion also displayed their large collection of artifacts and stories that pay tribute to locals who lost their lives in those two conflicts.
Joggins lost over thirty men in the First World War, and another thirteen in the Second World War, and Legere talked about the high percentage of young men from Joggins who signed up for battle in the Second World War.
He said that the population of Joggins during the Second World War was about 1,800, with 900 of those being men. Of those men, about 100 would have been between 18 and 30-years-old, 98 of who enlisted to go to war.
“I doubt very many communities in Canada can match those enlisted numbers,” said Legere.
During the reception, a letter from Andrew Sheer, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and of the official opposition, was read. It said, in part:
“I commend the Juno Beach Centre and the Vimy Foundation for creating this traveling exhibition. I also salute the Joggins Fossil Institute and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 4 Joggins for sharing it with Nova Scotian’s. This is an opportunity to honour the pivotal role Nova Scotians played at Vimy and Juno Beach.”
As part of the world-wide museum network, the Joggins Fossil Institute was instrumental in bringing the exhibit to Joggins.
Laurie Glenn Norris, Education and Outreach Manager at the Joggins Fossil Institute, was asked to say a few words at the reception.
“The institute was very pleased to be able to help co-ordinate this,” said Norris. I think it’s a good example of community interaction and engagement, and I hope that we’ll, in the future, be able to work on other activities with the legion and other community organizations.”
The exhibit wrapped up its stay in Joggins on Saturday.