Canadians come ashore at Juno Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE NAVAL MUSEUM OF ALBERTA
Canadians now have the opportunity to see Juno Beach as it is now, but with the history of how it was before.
In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a not-for-profit organization has created a virtual reality experience for Canadians to learn about the Normandy landings.
“You’re completely immersed in the battlefields,” said Peter Boyle, president of Valour Canada, a not-for-profit organization focused on educating Canadians about their shared military heritage.
The project, named Juno 75VR, allows users to tour the French war theatre through virtual reality while learning about Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen through photos, videos, interviews, war art and other items.
Boyle said their focus is to attract youth to learn about the brave Canadians who gave their lives to liberate Nazi-occupied territories.
Canadian veterans salute on the Juno beach after the international ceremony in Courseulles-sur-Mer, Normandy, northwestern France, on June 6, 2019, as part of D-Day commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP/GETTY IMAGES
“Youth, today, are given access to information in so many different ways than perhaps 20 years ago, when it would have been a blackboard and a textbook,” he said.
“If we don’t offer military history in the same way other things are, I don’t they’re as engaged, I don’t think they’ll learn as much.”
He said this is especially important considering there are very few Second World War veterans still living.
His organization wants to create informed citizens so when they grow up to be business leaders, politicians and active citizens they understand the role of the military in history and why wars were waged.
Juno 75VR is accessible through virtual-reality goggles or any web-enabled device.