Government of Canada

06/06/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/06/2019 18:09

Government of Canada marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy

June 6, 2019 - Normandy, France - Veterans Affairs Canada

We live in a country strong and free thanks to those who fought selflessly to achieve peace. Today, the Government of Canada marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy with signature ceremonies in Normandy, France, and in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Beginning on D-Day, June 6, 1944, with the Allied landings on five beaches in Normandy, the Normandy Campaign stretched for 11 weeks into the hot and dusty French summer. More than 5,000 Canadian soldiers died-and more than 13,000 were wounded-during this campaign, which helped bring an end to the Second World War.

In France, Veterans Affairs Canada held a ceremony at Juno Beach in Courseulles-sur-Mer, to commemorate all those who fought on D-Day and in the Battle of Normandy, putting their lives on the line in the defence of peace and freedom. The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, Monsieur Édouard Philippe, Prime Minister of the French Republic, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence attended the ceremony. The moving ceremony concluded with a wreath-laying on Juno beach. The Government of Canada delegation, comprised of Veterans of D-Day, the Battle of Normandy and the Second World War, representatives of Indigenous and Veterans groups, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Canadian youth, parliamentarians and led by the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, were also guests of honour at the ceremony.

In Halifax, a ceremony was held at the Willow Park Armoury. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, the Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, ONS, QC, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and Andy Filmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence attended, alongside Veterans of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, Canadian Armed Forces representatives and parliamentarians to pay homage to the Canadian service members who helped bring the Second World War to an end.

Throughout this spring and early summer, VIA Rail Canada trains have carried combat boots across Canada towards Halifax, as symbols of the thousands of Canadians who undertook similar journeys during the Second World War. Eventually, many of these Canadians sailed from Halifax to join our Allies in the liberation of Europe. In Halifax, these combat boots were displayed during the ceremony in a somber reminder of the vast sacrifices that were required to obtain the peace we cherish today. At Juno Beach, 359 Canadian and French youth and cadets walked along the beach to lay down helmets, flowers and boots, representing the 359 Canadian soldiers who lost their lives 75 years ago today.

At the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Veterans, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, youth and Canadians also laid wreaths during a commemorative ceremony to mark the 75th anniversary.

The continuing dedication to Remembrance, by all these Canadians-the Faces of Freedom- ensures the story and legacy of those who gave so much, lives on.

As well as the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, 2019 marks the 5th anniversary of the end of Canada's Mission in Afghanistan, and the 75th anniversaries of the Battle of the Scheldt and the Italian Campaign during the Second World War.

Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #CanadaRemembers and #DDay75, or visit veterans.gc.ca/d-day75.