Saturday, June 6, 2009

65 years on: D-Day and Canada

Juno Beach, June 6, 1944
(Canadian War Museum)

A few years ago I was outbound from Le Havre on a box ship, bound for Montréal, when I realized I was sailing past where the greatest naval armada in history had once lain. I was thinking of this today, which leads me to a short post of gratitude to all those who have remembered the veterans from many nations who took part in the D-Day landings sixty-five years ago, but with a particular note to those Canadians who were there, and those Canadians who still remember. Over 14,000 Canadian troops landed on D-Day, while some 450 landed by parachute or glider; over 10,000 Royal Canadian Navy personnel were involved. Of the five designated landing beaches, the Americans landed on Utah and Omaha, the British on Gold and Sword, while we were tasked with taking Juno, in the middle. And by the end of the first day, it was the Canadians who had made the biggest gains inland.

Sometimes Canadians have to remind others - and ourselves - of our military history and warrior spirit. Rather like when some disparage Canada today while forgetting the role our military is playing - at great cost - in Afghanistan.

But forget my grumblings and take a moment to remember how our country and its men and women of various cultures and backgrounds came together. And never forget the sacrifice of everyone involved.

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