Veterans and public gather to celebrate hard-won freedoms
NORDRHAIN-WESTFALEN, Germany, May 8, 2015 /CNW/ - Parliamentary Secretary Rick Dykstra, representing the Government of Canada, and Canadian Veterans of the Liberation of the Netherlands today marked Victory in Europe (V-E) Day.
Nearing the close of a week of commemorative events surrounding the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands, delegates participated this morning in a small wreath-laying ceremony at the Reichswald Forest War Cemetery. Tomorrow, delegates will attend the National March Past and Liberation Festival, in Apeldoorn, before returning to Canada.
The Liberation of the Netherlands, from the fall of 1944 to the spring of 1945, was one of Canada's most recognized efforts during the Second World War, helping lead to Victory in Europe (V-E) Day.
- On May 5, 1945, Lieutenant-General Foulkes accepted the surrender of the German troops in the Netherlands, in the town of Wageningen.
- The formal German surrender was signed on May 7, 1945, at Reims in France.
- May 8, 1945, was declared Victory in Europe (V-E) Day, marking the official end of the Second World War in Europe.
- During the Second World War, tens of thousands of Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen played a key role in the liberation of the Netherlands, including up to 175,000 Canadian soldiers of the First Canadian Army.
- The cost of this victory was high, as more than 7,600 Canadians died in the effort.
- More than one million Canadians served during the Second World War.
- Despite its small population of some 11 million, Canada was to become a significant military power, emerging with greater responsibilities as a member of the world community.
- In 2014, Canada marked the centennial of the beginning of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War. From 2014 to 2020, Canada will mark the events, battles and social conditions that shaped these wars.
"It has been a great privilege to participate in events this week with Canadian Veterans of the Liberation of the Netherlands. To think that these humble Canadians and their fallen comrades, through their tremendous sacrifices and unerring bravery, made such an enormous contribution toward Victory in Europe is truly inspiring."
Parliamentary Secretary Rick Dykstra, representing the Government of Canada
"On this day, in 1945, after years of brutal conflict, a continent was officially freed from tyranny. Many men and women, service members and civilians, lost their lives in the struggle for peace and democracy. We must continue to uphold the values they defended, and express our gratitude by engaging Veterans and younger generations in events like these."
The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Martin Magnan, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans of Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468