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Archived - PM wraps-up visit to France to commemorate D-Day
Normandy, France - 6 June 2014
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today wrapped-up a one-day visit to Normandy, France, where he participated in a range of activities to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. He was accompanied by more than 100 Canadian Veterans and nearly one thousand Canadian youth and cadets.
As part of the commemorations, the Prime Minister participated in a commemorative ceremony at the Bény-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery, an international commemorative ceremony at Sword Beach in Ouistreham, and a bi-national commemorative ceremony at the Juno Beach Centre in Courseulles-sur-Mer.
At these events, the Prime Minister honoured the tremendous courage and sacrifices of Canadians and Allies who participated in these important historical battles, learned more about D-Day and the Battle of Normandy from Canadian Veterans who fought there 70 years ago, and helped ensure that the young Canadians present would remember those who fought so hard for the peace and freedom enjoyed today.
The visit was part of Prime Minister Harper’s broader visit to Europe (June 3 to 7), which also included stops in Warsaw, Poland (June 4), to mark the 25th anniversary of the beginning of Poland’s transition from communism to democracy, and Brussels, Belgium, to participate in the G-7 Summit. The Prime Minister will conclude his trip in Kyiv, Ukraine (June 7), to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Petro Poroshenko as the new President of Ukraine.
- On D-Day (June 6, 1944), Canadian and other Allied troops stormed German defences on the beaches of Normandy, France, to open the way to Germany from the West.
- On that day, Canadian airmen dropped thousands of pounds of bombs on German coastal fortifications, protected soldiers on the beaches and attacked German formations on the ground. Paratroopers captured enemy positions and destroyed enemy infrastructure.
- The 109 vessels and 10,000 sailors of the Royal Canadian Navy helped keep the German fleet bottled up in ports, cleared mines across the English Channel, silenced enemy batteries on the shoreline, and carried Canadian troops and landing craft to the battle.
- D-Day was one of the most significant military engagements of the 20th century for Canada and for the world, signalling the beginning of the end of the Nazi hold over Western Europe.
- On D-Day and in the days and weeks that followed D-Day, more than 90,000 Canadians fought through the dust and summer heat of Normandy. More than 5,000 laid down their lives.
“It was truly moving to be in Normandy, along with Canadian Veterans, to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. Along with our Allies, the sacrifices they have made have allowed us to enjoy peace and freedom. Theirs is a sacrifice we will never forget.”-Prime Minister Stephen Harper
“It was equally moving to see the Veterans passing along their stories to Canadian schoolchildren who have inherited the peace and freedom Canadian soldiers fought so valiantly for. It is our duty never to forget the price of freedom, and the sacrifices required to preserve it.”-Prime Minister Stephen Harper
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