Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

September 03, 2010 09:00 ET

Canada Remembers the Liberation of Belgium

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 3, 2010) - The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), issued the following statement today regarding the 66th anniversary of the liberation of Belgium by Allied Forces.

"Last August, I had the privilege of travelling to Belgium where I was able to witness the profound gratitude that this nation holds for Canada. Here at home, few people know that every evening, in Ypres, there is a ceremony to commemorate the sacrifices of Commonwealth soldiers, including Canadians. This daily ceremony, in which I was honoured to participate, has been taking place since 1928, right after the First World War, when Canada also contributed to the liberation of Belgium."

Quite a few years later, Canadian forces played a key role in the battle to defeat the German army after four long years of ruthless occupation in Belgium. Liberty was restored to the people of Belgium on September 4, 1944. By marking this 66th anniversary, we remember the sacrifices and celebrate the achievements of the Canadians who brought freedom to the people of Belgium.

The situation in Belgium was dire. Canadian forces fought through mud-flooded lands against a powerful, battle-hardened enemy. It was a concerted effort; Canadians on land, air and sea played a part in liberating the Belgians. The 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry divisions and the 4th Canadian Armoured division moved through Belgium, supported by the operations of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy. More than 800 Canadians made the ultimate sacrifice in Belgium.

The cohesive Canadian military we know today is said to have formed roots during the liberation of Belgium.

Our Veterans represent the very best of Canada. Many of the freedoms we, as Canadians, enjoy can be largely attributed to them. We are forever indebted to our Veterans and it is our duty to remember."

For more information on the liberation of Belgium, visit the Veterans Affairs Canada Web site at www.vac-acc.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    613-992-7468
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Sophie Doucet
    Director of Communications
    613-992-3465
    Cell.: 613-608-3252