Canadian Veterans wrap up emotional ceremonies in France

Canadian Veterans of the Battle of Normandy, Fraser Muir and Roy Eddy, receive poppies from French children as part of a ceremony at the Brettville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery. Canada's Minister of Veterans Affairs, Julian Fantino, spoke on behalf of Canada. (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)

Minister Fantino joins Veterans to honour those who served during D-Day and the Battle of Normandy

NORMANDY, France, June 7, 2014 /CNW/ - It has been an emotional week for Canadian Veterans who returned to Normandy, France, to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. Almost 100 Canadian Veterans from the campaign visited former battlefields to pay their respects to fallen comrades, and reflect on their massive accomplishment that helped signal the beginning of the end of the Second World War.

Earlier this week, the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, attended the unveiling of new tribute markers mounted at the Juno Beach Centre in honour of those Canadians who were killed in action on D-Day.

Yesterday, Minister Fantino and Veterans attended the international ceremony in Ouistreham, in the British Sector of Sword Beach. The Government of Canada also hosted a signature event at the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer. Close to 6,000 people were in attendance, including their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall; and the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada.

Today, Minister Fantino joined the Veterans for a commemorative ceremony at the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery, in Cintheaux, to pay tribute to the 2,793 Canadians who rest there. The Minister and Veterans also participated in ceremonies organized by the Canadian Battlefields Foundation at the Canadian Garden, Le Mémorial Museum, as well as at La Place de l'Ancienne Boucherie and at the garden of l'Abbaye d'Ardenne.

Though anniversary events in France and Canada will soon come to a close, the heightened period of commemoration for both the First and Second World War will continue as the country approaches the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.

Quick Facts

  • Almost 100 Veterans are receiving travel assistance from Veterans Affairs Canada to attend events in France.
  • Young Canadians were also a large part of the events overseas, with nearly 1,000 students and cadets travelling to France on educational tours.
  • Of the more than 90,000 Canadians who served in the Battle of Normandy, more than 5,000 gave up their lives defending freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
  • On D-Day, having successfully breached the Atlantic wall, Canadian soldiers pushed the farthest inland. Those vital gains came at great cost, however, as Canadians suffered the most casualties of any British Army Group during the ensuing Battle of Normandy.

Quote

"It has been a truly moving experience to witness all generations, from youth to Second World War Veterans, so deeply engaged in the spirit of remembrance. Though it was 70 years ago that the course of history was set on the shores of Normandy, it clearly still resonates today."
The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs

Associated Links

SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada

Image with caption: "Canadian Veterans of the Battle of Normandy, Fraser Muir and Roy Eddy, receive poppies from French children as part of a ceremony at the Brettville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery. Canada's Minister of Veterans Affairs, Julian Fantino, spoke on behalf of Canada. (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140607_C9010_PHOTO_EN_41192.jpg

For further information:

Barbara Mottram
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
613-996-4649

Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada
613-992-7468