COURSEULLES-SUR-MER, FRANCE, June 6, 2013 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, Eve Adams, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, today marked the 69th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy at a ceremony at Juno Beach in Courseulles-sur-Mer, France. The ceremony was part of the 10th anniversary of the Juno Beach Centre.
"Our Government congratulates the Juno Beach Centre Association on the 10th anniversary of the Juno Beach Centre," said Minister Blaney. "Sixty-nine years ago, the shores of Juno Beach witnessed the great sacrifices and successes of the many brave Canadians fighting for victory in Normandy. I applaud the commitment of the Juno Beach Centre to ensuring that the achievements of Canadian Veterans and those who gave their lives on that day will never be forgotten."
D-Day is considered a turning point in the Second World War. In June of 1944, Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen came together to join other nations in gaining a foothold in occupied Europe, on the march to freedom. The success achieved in Normandy helped pave the way to final victory in Europe on May 8, 1945.
Our Government is very proud to support the Juno Beach Centre Association members in their vision to maintain a lasting memorial to their friends and fellow Canadian heroes who bravely fought here on D-Day," said Parliamentary Secretary Adams. "Overlooking the historic shores of Juno Beach, the Centre encourages young and old alike to truly appreciate Canada's enormous contributions to the Second World War. This is a noble effort, and today's events strengthen our determination to do more to remember Canadian sacrifices."
The anniversary also marked the inauguration of the Garth Webb Esplanade, dedicated in the memory of Veteran Garth Webb who landed on Juno Beach as a young Canadian lieutenant on the morning of D-Day, June 6, 1944. Inspired by a return visit to Juno Beach in 1994, Mr. Webb spearheaded the creation of the Juno Beach Centre Association and drove the work in establishing a permanent Canadian presence in the Normandy region with the Juno Beach Centre. Mr. Webb passed away in 2012.
"It is a distinct honour to unveil the Garth Webb Esplanade today," said Don Cooper, President of the Juno Beach Centre Association. "Garth, alongside a group of passionate Canadian Second World War Veterans, widows and children of Veterans, worked tirelessly to create and establish the Juno Beach Centre in 2003. Ten years on, we have welcomed over half a million visitors to the Centre, but we're counting on the future generations to ensure that the legacy of Juno Beach lives on."
Parliamentary Secretary Adams also participated in several commemorative ceremonies in Normandy today, including special ceremonies at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Omaha Beach, the National Guard Monument in Vierville-sur-Mer and the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery in Reviers.
The Juno Beach Centre Association receives annual financial support from Veterans Affairs Canada to assist with its operational costs. For more information on the Juno Beach Centre and the Association, please visit junobeach.org. For more information about Canada's role in D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, please visit veterans.gc.ca.
2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to uphold freedom, democracy and the rule of law. For more information on Canada's role in the Korean War, visit veterans.gc.ca, visit our Facebook "Canada Remembers" page to leave a message of remembrance, or follow us on Twitter @VeteransENG_CA.
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information:
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada
Jean-Christophe de Le Rue
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs