This past weekend marked the 71st anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, one of Canada’s most significant and successful military engagements. As a grandson of a First World War Veteran and the brother of a former Canadian Navy sailor, it is my privilege to pay tribute to Canada’s Armed Forces, those who died, and the veterans who served in this great battle. Their heroic efforts were key to helping turn the tide of the Second World War and liberate Europe from Nazi tyranny.
On June 6, 1944, Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen along with Allied troops stormed the German defences on the beaches of Normandy. Against impossible odds, the Canadian troops courageously advanced further than any of their Allies on that day. It was Canadian troops who played an integral role in the success of the D-Day landings. This victory, however, came at a great cost with 340 young Canadians paying the ultimate sacrifice on D-Day alone.
Canadian troops continued to play a critical part for freedom during the Battle of Normandy in the months that followed. A stronghold for Nazi forces, the Normandy campaign was a hard-fought battle and Canadian troops were key players in the offensives that would ultimately defeat Nazi forces and help bring an end to the war in Europe. Canadian troops suffered the most casualties of any division in the British Army Group with more than 18,000 casualties, including more than 5,000 Canadians giving their lives.
D-Day was a pivotal moment in world history. The accomplishments of Canada’s troops during the Second World War is a source of great pride for Canada. We also remember the nurses, doctors, drivers and indirect military support personnel who helped ensure victory. These Canadians courageously and sacrificially fought to defend freedom, democracy and the rule of law – values that we enjoy today.
Canada’s Veterans, including many from Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry, have served our country with great distinction. These brave warriors defended our rights and freedoms, and we are indebted to them and their families for their sacrifice.
Veterans Affairs Canada has an excellent website with resources dedicated to educating Canadians about these important events at http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/second-world-war/d-day.
Lest we forget.