D-Day Veterans welcome combat boots of remembrance at the end of cross-Canada commemorative train journey.
HALIFAX, June 3, 2019 /CNW/ - D-Day, and the ensuing Battle of Normandy, was one of Canada's most significant military engagements of the 20th century. Through the commemorative journey this spring, Canadians have joined Veterans to pay tribute to the more than 90,000 Canadian soldiers who volunteered to serve our country and saw action in the Normandy Campaign.
On March 29, 2019, in Vancouver, British Columbia, a pair of combat boots—as a symbol of the many Canadians who took a similar journey during the Second World War to serve our country—was placed on The Canadian to begin the train voyage to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where so many troops departed for Europe 75 years ago. Along the way, additional pairs of boots were placed on trains in communities across the country.
Today, Andy Fillmore, Member of Parliament for Halifax, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, thanked D-Day and Normandy Veterans Corporal (ret'd) Havelyn Chiasson, Private (ret'd) Albert Hubley and Leading Seaman (ret'd) Frederick Turnbull for welcoming the combat boots at the end of the commemorative train journey. Joined by Veterans, youth, honoured guests and Canadian Armed Forces members, Mr. Fillmore officially received and welcomed the combat boots to Halifax for the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy events.
"This spring pairs of combat boots took a journey of remembrance across Canada representing the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who traded their civilian shoes for combat boots in the Second World War. The journey stopped in 17 towns and cities along the way. To VIA Rail, Parks Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, cadets, students and schools, community organizations, and most of all—the Veterans— I am deeply grateful for your tremendous contributions. As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy with our allies, I encourage all Canadians to remember the courage and sacrifice of those who have served in uniform. We live in a country strong and free thanks to those who fought selflessly to achieve peace. Lest we forget."
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
"It is a great honour for VIA Rail to have been able to take part in the historic 75th anniversary of D-Day and the battle of Normandy. It was 75 years ago that Canadians crossed the ocean to defend democracy and to secure a better future for coming generations. By recreating the journey on which they embarked at the time, from Vancouver to Halifax, and by hosting several commemorative ceremonies in our stations along the way with our Veterans and their families, we wanted to pay tribute to our soldiers and thank them for their sacrifice. Lest we forget!"
Cynthia Garneau, President and Chief Executive Officer, VIA Rail Canada
"Few stories in Canada's history tell of such bravery and sacrifice as the thousands of young Canadians who journeyed far from home to serve in the Second World War. It has been an honour for Parks Canada to share the Combats Boots Campaign this spring and bring this history to the generations of Canadians who have known peace thanks to these soldiers' sacrifices. I encourage all Canadians to learn more about our history by visiting Parks Canada places across the country, including places that played an important role in preparation for D-Day and the Battle of Normandy."
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
- On June 6, 1944, some 14,000 Canadians stormed the beaches of Normandy with Allied troops to breach Nazi Germany's "Fortress Europe." On that day—known as D-Day—three hundred and fifty-nine (359) Canadian soldiers were killed.
- In the months leading-up to the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy on June 6, 2019, Veterans Affairs Canada partnered with VIA Rail Canada, Parks Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces and community organizations to hold events in communities across Canada.
- The Government of Canada is sending an official delegation to Halifax, Nova Scotia, from June 4-7, 2019. This delegation will include Veterans of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy and parliamentarians.
- Government of Canada delegations will participate in signature events on June 6, 2019—at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and at the Juno Beach Centre in France— to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.
- Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #CanadaRemembers and #DDay75, or visit veterans.gc.ca/d-day75.
- Explore stories from D-Day and the Battle of Normandy—the Faces of Freedom—some of whom volunteered to bravely defend our freedom in Europe. Their faces tell the story and their legacy will live on.
- As well as the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, 2019 marks the 5th anniversary of the end of Canada's Mission in Afghanistan, and the 75th anniversaries of the Battle of the Scheldt and the Italian Campaign during the Second World War.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468, [email protected]; Media Relations, VIA Rail Canada, 1-877-393-8787, [email protected]; Media Relations, Parks Canada Agency, 1-855-862-1812, [email protected]