June 6th 1944 – D-Day – Canadians Stormed Juno Beach in Normandy France

Army cameramen assigned to capture the first wave of the D-Day invasion. (Library and Archives Canada PA#206120)
Army cameramen assigned to capture the first wave of the D-Day invasion. (Library and Archives Canada PA#206120)

The Longest Day a Day of Destiny for Canada

THUNDER BAY – On June 6, 1944 Canadian soldiers waded ashore onto the sands of Juno Beach in France. The long-awaited invasion of Europe was finally underway. There were 14,000 Canadians who assaulted the beach. There were 359 Canadian who died on D-Day. As well there were another 715 Canadians who were wounded in battle by the end of the day.

2015 represents the seventy first anniversary of the D-Day landing. There are very few people left alive today who assaulted the beach, or manned the naval ships, or flew sorties in the air to defend the invasion.

Today the memory of the efforts of Canadians is being remembered with honour and respect by people who live in the communities across Europe who were liberated by the Canadians. As well, young Canadians are working hard to preserve the memories of the Canadians who fought to defend freedoms in World War Two.

In Thunder Bay the annual December Remembrance Day is continuing to grow, even though there are fewer and fewer veterans who are still alive. A soldier who was 18 years old in 1944 would now be in their late eighties.

While celebrations on a grand scale have slowed, the memory and the efforts of those brave men and women, sailors, airmen, soldiers and all the workers and planners who made the invasion possible are still remembered with honour.

Take a moment today to reflect on the duty, effort and sacrifice that they made so we can live today.