Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

June 03, 2009 15:29 ET

Canada Remembers D-Day: Return to Normandy

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 3, 2009) - Canadian Veterans of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy are returning to France as part of an official Government of Canada delegation, led by the Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, marking the 65th anniversary of this momentous campaign.

"Our Veterans-ordinary Canadians who accomplished extraordinary things-represent the best of Canada," said Minister Thompson. "The freedoms we enjoy today are because of them and we owe it to them to remember. We must honour those who served, and the fallen, and help to keep alive the values for which they fought and sacrificed so much."

The official Government of Canada delegation includes Veterans of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, a Veteran of the Canadian Forces, serving members of the Canadian Forces, a member of the RCMP, representatives of major Veterans' organizations, youth, parliamentarians and Canadian media. The delegation will be in France between June 3 and 9 to participate in a series of events in honour of the 65th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.

On June 5, they will take part in the unveiling of a monument dedicated to the Royal Canadian Navy at the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer. Later that day, they will attend a commemorative ceremony in collaboration with the French municipalities of Reviers and Beny-sur-Mer at the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. The delegation will also participate in commemorative ceremonies organized by the French Comite du Debarquement, which has been organizing commemorative ceremonies since 1945.

There will be a Government of Canada signature event held on Saturday, June 6 in collaboration with the Juno Beach Centre Association. Also that day, Minister Thompson and Garth Webb, President of the Juno Beach Centre Association, will officially open the Veterans' Voices exhibit at the Juno Beach Centre. The exhibit features 12 Canadian Veterans who took part in D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, many of whom will be present at the event.

On June 7, the Government of Canada, in collaboration with the municipality of Cintheaux, will hold a ceremony of remembrance at the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery. The delegation will also attend three commemorative ceremonies in Caen being held by the Canadian Battlefields Foundation.

As the sun rose over the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, Canadian Forces from land, air and sea came together on D-Day in the pursuit of freedom. By the time the sun set that day, the Canadians had progressed farther than any other Allied troops. Of the 150,000 who took part in D-Day, more than 25,000 were Canadians. In the months that followed, during the Battle of Normandy, more than 90,000 Canadian men and women served in a monumental series of events that would signal the beginning of the end of the Second World War. Of those, more than 5,000 would lay down their lives.

For more information about D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, for reports on the delegation's progress in France or details on events in your area, visit Veterans Affairs Canada's Web site at www.vac-acc.gc.ca.

For more information about the Juno Beach Centre, visit www.junobeach.org.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    613-992-7468
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Richard Roik
    Director of Communications
    613-996-4649
    or
    Juno Beach Centre
    Courseulles-sur-Mer, France
    Nathalie Worthington
    02 31 37 32 17