Newfoundland premier Kathy Dunderdale lays a wreath at the Beaumont Hamel memorial in France. — Submitted photo
Premier Kathy Dunderdale said that visiting Beaumont Hamel changes you.
Following a weeklong trade mission to China, Dunderdale was in France for Memorial Day, and commemorating the battle which claimed the lives of hundreds of Newfoundlanders during the First World War.
“Beaumont Hamel was not anything that I imagined it might be. I personally find it a very peaceful place, but the longer you stay there, the deeper the emotion you feel,” she said.
“As you go through the history, as you walk through the trenches, you recognize what extraordinary sacrifices were made by these young men.”
On Monday, she laid a wreath at the Beaumont Hamel memorial, and was accompanies by veterans, members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary and youth from around the province.
Dunderdale said seeing the young people’s reaction to Beaumont Hamel was particularly moving.
“Watching that happen with these young people there yesterday, they got a better understanding of their history,” she said. “I heard one say to the other, you know, ‘I finally understand what it means when they sing ‘Where once they stood we stand.’”
Dunderdale will be in France until July 4 visiting other First World War sites.