Government of Canada begins D-Day commemorations with Second World War Veterans

Ottawa area youth wish bon voyage to Veterans heading overseas at a special unveiling of a minted coin to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing

OTTAWA, June 3, 2014 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Erin O'Toole, Member of Parliament for Durham and Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, today unveiled a specially designed silver coin minted to capture the landing at Juno Beach on June 6, 1944. MP O'Toole was joined by Second World War Veterans, Ottawa area youth, and representatives from the Royal Canadian Mint for this special occasion.

Departing this evening for commemorative events in France, the Veterans also took this opportunity to share their stories with students from Mutchmor Public School and Notre Dame High School, who thanked them for their service and wished them a safe trip. The students also confirmed their commitment to honour and remember the sacrifices of all those who served during D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.

While in France, Veterans will be joined by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of Veterans Affairs Julian Fantino, and other representatives from Canada in events hosted by the Government of Canada, the Canadian Battlefields Association, the Republic of France and other participating countries.

D-Day was one of Canada's most significant and successful military engagements, and a pivotal moment of the 20th century. D-Day and the campaign that followed in Normandy would help signal the beginning of the end of the Second World War. The Government of Canada is committed to recognizing Canada's proud military history and the bravery and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform 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 will also be a large part of the events overseas, with nearly 1,000 students and cadets travelling to France on educational tours.
  • Some 2,044 Canadians who fell in the Second World War now rest at the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery. Among them are nine pairs of brothers—a record for a cemetery of the Second World War.
  • Some 2,793 Canadians who fell in the Second World War now rest at the Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery, including 78 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Quotes

"Today, as our Veterans prepare for their return to the shores of France, all Canadians should reflect upon their sacrifices and achievements in liberating the world from tyranny 70 years ago. These brave men and women deserve our gratitude for protecting our cherished way of life and for creating a bond between our two countries that will remain for generations to come."
The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs

"As a grateful nation, we also have a duty to remember these Canadian Veterans who stepped forward when our nation needed them, who served with courage and distinction and who defended all the things we still hold dearly today."
Erin O'Toole, Member of Parliament for Durham and Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces

"This 70th anniversary of D-Day send-off ceremony for the Veterans of D-Day and the victorious Battle of Normandy in the long ago summer of 1944 is an honour that is appreciated by all of those Veterans who are now on their way to Juno Beach—the successful landing point in Normandy on June 6th, 1944.

"We Veterans, almost all of whom are now in our nineties, are also highly honoured by the Royal Canadian Mint and its production of this beautifully crafted and designed commemorative D-Day coin.  Given the ages of the Veterans, this on-decade 70th anniversary will likely be the final one of such celebrations. So the creation of this coin and its permanence in the workings of our treasured Canadian society, the finest and best nation in the world in which to live, is a much welcomed salute to all of us Veterans for which we are most grateful."
Major-General Richard Rohmer, OC, CMM, DFC, O.Ont , CD, QC, Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur Senior Veteran of  D-Day and Battle of Normandy

"The Mint has a long history of commemorating Canada's Veterans and their sacrifices. On the eve of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Mint employees have proudly produced a special silver coin to honour their bravery in the face of peril, in a pivotal battle that changed the course of the Second World War."
Ian E. Bennett, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint 

Associated Links

Image with caption: "Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade Erin O'Toole, along with Carman Joynt, Director of the Royal Canadian Mint Board of Directors and local students join Veterans as they prepare to depart for France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140603_C8258_PHOTO_EN_41034.jpg

SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada

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


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