Following a week of ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the Italian Campaign, Canadian Veterans bid a moving farewell to former battlegrounds and fallen comrades in Italy
OTTAWA, Nov.28, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's official delegation led by the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today wrapped up a week of commemorative ceremonies in Italy. Canadian Veterans participated in a number of commemorative activities, including a visit to the war cemetery in Cassino where 855 Canadians are buried.
In Ortona, a wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Price of Peace monument dedicated to Canadians who helped liberate Ortona, and a candlelight ceremony of remembrance was also held at the Moro River Canadian War Cemetery, where 1,375 Canadians are buried. During this ceremony, Veterans remembered the sacrifices of fellow Canadians who gave their lives during the battle for this seaside town—one of the most bitter conflicts of the war. They were joined by students from Canadian College Italy in nearby Lanciano.
A commemorative ceremony was also held to remember 206 Canadians buried at the Villanova Canadian War Cemetery, site of one of several difficult but successful battles leading to the breaching of the "Gothic line"—the last major line of defence against the Allied offense and a key milestone in the eventual liberation of Italy. A wreath-laying ceremony to recognize this victory was held at the Breaching of the Gothic Line plaque in Rimini.
While in Italy, Minister Fantino also honoured Canadian Veterans with a commemorative lapel pin and certificate of recognition marking the 75th anniversary of Canada's engagement in the Second World War.
- During the Second World War, more than 93,000 Canadians fought to liberate Italy, and almost 6,000 lost their lives.
- The Villanova Canadian War Cemetery is located just outside the village of Villanova. It contains 206 Canadian graves, including one of an unknown soldier. There are also six soldiers buried in this cemetery from the United Kingdom.
- The Second World War Tribute was announced on September 10, 2014, to mark the 75th anniversary of Canada's engagement in the Second World War. Canadians who served at least one day with Canadian forces or with any other Allied force, including the Canadian or British Merchant Navy, either at home or abroad, are eligible to apply for the commemorative lapel pin and certificate. Request forms are available online at veterans.gc.ca, or by calling Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) at 1-866-522-2122.
- From 2014-2020, the Government of Canada's World Wars Commemoration period will mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the key milestone anniversaries of the Second World War, including the 75th anniversary of Canada's engagement in the Second World War.
"The Italian Campaign saw more than 93,000 Canadians join the Allies in the defeat of enemy forces in Italy. It is with great pride that we remember the service and sacrifices of the nearly 6,000 Canadians who gave their lives to ensure victory."
The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs
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