D-Day Anniversary – The Longest Day

Canadian Soldiers on Juno Beach - a foothold in France and first steps to ending the war in Europe
Canadian Soldiers on Juno Beach - a foothold in France and first steps to ending the war in Europe

THUNDER BAY – Today is the sixty-ninth anniversary of D-Day. D-Day was the long awaited invasion of France by Allied troops in World War 2. 14,000 Canadians soldiers stormed ashore on a beach code named Juno Beach on June 6 1944.

The Juno Beach Centre in France states, “Canada had followed Britain’s lead in declaring war on Germany in September 1939 and within weeks, was sending troops overseas. Britons and Canadians affirmed the ties of their shared history and traditions, and forged new bonds of comradeship, friendship, and even marriage as they met and mixed over six long years of war”.

Their courage, determination and self-sacrifice were the immediate reasons for the success in those critical hours. Canadian troops achieved their goals on that historic day.

The invasion was the largest amphibious invasion of all time. Almost 5,000 ships were involved in the operation. The Americans, British, Canadians, Free French, New Zealanders, Australians and free forces from other occupied European countries were involved.

Anchorage
The Anchorage at Marina Park in Thunder Bay – A place for reflection

Over 100 Canadian warships and almost 10,000 Canadian sailors supported D-Day. Canadian ships and sailors helped protect the invasion fleet, cleared German minefields, and ferried Allied troops across the English Channel.

D Day Remembrance Day
Dignitaries laying wreaths included Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins, Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy, and other Chiefs from nearby First Nations

 

Hawker Hurricane Fighter
Hawker Hurricane

Then cities of Fort William, Port Arthur and Fort William First Nation were involved heavily in World War Two. Young people across the communities enlisted in the army, navy and airforce.

Remembrance Day 2012
Standing a quiet guard honouring the veterans from Canada’s Navy is the Naval Memorial at the Thunder Bay Waterfront – Remembrance Day 2012

The Hawker Hurricane was built here in the city of Fort William. That amazing aircraft was used in all theatres of the conflict.

Today’s sixty-ninth anniversary is unlikely to garner the same recognition as next year’s 70th anniversary. Such is the process of most media, and of politicians.

However the efforts, sacrifices and bravery of the men and women who made such a huge difference in protecting our freedom should be respected each and every day of the year.

Today many of the freedoms and liberties that each one of us enjoy every day, a freedom of religion, freedom of the press and media, and individual freedoms were all freedoms that the efforts of brave men and women fought for and in far too many cases were maimed, wounded or killed to defend.

Today in Thunder Bay the cold and damp weather over night and this morning is not unlike the conditions that Canadian and other Allied troops faced as they stormed ashore in Normandy.

Today is a day that we should all pause for a moment and reflect on the efforts and sacrifices each of those brave men and woman made for us.

Remembrance and respect is far too important for only Remembrance Day in November.

Remembrance Day 2012 in Thunder Bay

Together with our friends at Shaw Cable Ten – NetNewsledger was proud to livestream the 2012 Remembrance Day Services from Fort William Gardens.