British Peace Garden at Caen
Opening of the British Peace Garden, Caen Memorial Museum, France
The above photograph was taken at the opening of the 'British Peace Garden' at the Caen Memorial Museum on the Saturday afternoon of 5 June 2004. As well as the VIPs shown in this photograph, there were many more VIPs present at this Ceremony: actual British veterans who took part in the Battle of Normandy. I have some photographs of these other VIPs but I felt it better to select this one as some of the people might be rather better known to others viewing this story.
For those who might reside in North America, an 'American Peace Garden' and a 'Canadian Peace Garden' had already been made at the Caen Memorial. Both of those two Peace Gardens are at the rear of the building. The British Peace Garden, opened to co-incide with the 60th Anniversary Commemorations of D-Day, is adjacent to the front of the Memorial. The event was planned about a year previously. The pre-publicity said that 'a member of the British Royal Family would be present'. I am not actually sure when it was decided Prince Charles was to be the main guest of the Mayor of Caen, Madame Brigitte le Breton but it only seemed to be officially announced a few days earlier.
It is often difficult to get to these events, especially with VIPs present, particularly because of the security arrangements. Access to this event was by ticket only and went mainly to wartime veterans, their families or people travelling with them. A few weeks later, I returned to the Caen Memorial and went to the British Peace Garden on my own. I placed a poppy cross in the ground to honour those who had given their lives in WW2 in the cause of Peace.