Stonewall Quarry Park HAC opens D-Day exhibit

One of the displays presented in the Stonewall Remembers: D-Day exhibit at the Stonewall Quarry Park Heritage Arts Centre in Stonewall, Man. (Adam Peleshaty/The Stonewall Argus and Teulon Times/Postmedia Network)

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For the past few years, the Stonewall Quarry Park Heritage Arts Centre has displayed exhibits inside the Fullbrook Room every November telling the stories of local soldiers serving their nation, ranging from the Red River Rebellion to both World Wars and the Korean War, to Afghanistan, to peacekeeping missions overseas.

This year will be no different as the HAC will host Stonewall Remembers: D-Day, which remembers the Normandy landings of June 6, 1944 and the local connections behind the liberation of Nazi-occupied France. The exhibit is free to the public and will be open from Nov. 2 to 30 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (except for Remembrance Day Nov. 11).

Stonewall Quarry Park manager Catherine Precourt told The Stonewall Argus and Teulon Times she felt it was appropriate to honour the contributions of those who fought on D-Day as 2019 marks its 75th anniversary.

“We had local residents who actually died on Juno Beach. We’re basically telling their stories and just trying to put in perspective how immense the operation was. It was a huge logistical challenge,” she said.

Research for the exhibit, just like previous ones, began more than a year in advance, Precourt added. Soldiers from Stonewall and the surrounding area who landed on Juno Beach on D-Day were already profiled in previous exhibits, but more research was done of them prior to this exhibit.

“I’ve had the fortune to visit both the Canadian War Museum and last year, I visited (The National WWII) Museum in New Orleans. I was able to spend a lot of time there, learning about D-Day, as well,” she said, adding that the exhibit will contain between 40 to 50 photos. Precourt also mentioned that the planning made in the days leading up to D-Day is at least as fascinating as the landing itself.

“We’re looking at (D-Day) in phases. Not just what actually happened on June 6, but the planning that happened before and the different steps in the battle itself,” she said.

However, the exhibit is still designed to teach locals about the sacrifices of prior generations.

“I think it’s really important that we really remember the sacrifices of those that have come before us that give us the freedom that we have today,” she said. “Seventy-five years is a long time and there’s not too many people who had participated in D-Day who are still here. So it’s important that we learn those stories so that we remember and not forget their sacrifices … You need to know the stories before you can understand and appreciate the sacrifices.”

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