Seventy years ago on June 6, 1944 over 14,000 brave Canadians landed on Juno Beach in France in the Battle of Normandy.
Their valiant effort forever changed the role of Canada in the world and was one of the critical turning points for the Allied victory in World War II.
In 1944, Canada was a young, yet proud nation.
The task of capturing Juno Beach was an enormous responsibility for our nation as it was one of the five designated beaches in the coordinated efforts by Allied powers in Operation Overlord.
In recognition of the bravery and courage of Canadian soldiers, on May 21 66 veterans from B.C. in the Second World War were presented with France’s highest honour, the Ordre national de la Legion d’honneur.
I had the privilege of attending the Commemoration Dinner in Vancouver and meeting with many of our veterans.
Mr. Jean-Christophe Fleury, the Consulate General of France spoke about how important and respected our Canadian veterans are in France.
On a personal note, over the years I have had many conversations with my grandparents and have wrote down their stories about their experiences in the navy during the Second World War.
My grandfather still remembers clearly specific dates and where he was at during the war and it is critically important that we remember their tremendous sacrifice.
I asked the veterans at the event to ensure that their stories were wrote down and one dear sailor sent me the book he wrote about his experiences.
I have been so fortunate to attend many events this past year in my role and this was a significant one that I will remember and hold close to my heart.
On this 70th anniversary of D-Day let’s remember the courage and sacrifice our veterans made to Canada. We owe a great deal of gratitude to them, and we shall never forget that.
Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and is the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.