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Trudeau in Normandy to pay tribute to Canadian heroes

Photo: Adrian Wyld The Canadian Press Prime Minister Justin Trudeau waves as he boards a government plane Wednesday morning to fly to France for the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Michel Saba – The Canadian Press

Published yesterday at 7:05 a.m. Updated yesterday at 9:12 a.m.

  • Europe

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau traveled to France on Wednesday to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, where 5,500 Canadian soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe.

“The sacrifice of the men who served during these missions is enormous,” insisted in an interview with The Canadian Press the Minister of Veterans Affairs, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, who heads the Canadian delegation.

Several of the former soldiers accompanying him, many of whom are centenarians, were among the 14,000 Canadians who, on the morning of June 6, 1944, invested the Normandy beach which was given the code name “Juno”.

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Along with the Americans and the British, a total of 156,000 soldiers stormed five beaches along 100 kilometers of coastline and behind enemy lines.

< p>In the front row, Marcel Ouimet, war reporter for Radio-Canada, accurately recounts the landscape as the soldiers of the Régiment de la Chaudière, based in Quebec, rushed to the beach at Bernières-sur-Mer ( Juno Beach), which will be the first locality liberated by the Canadians.

But by nightfall, 359 Canadian soldiers were dead, according to the most recent National Defense data . It was not in vain. Across the ocean, the Toronto Daily Starheadline: “A Crack in the Atlantic Wall,” recalls the Canadian Encyclopedia.

“It is an amphibious landing that has never been seen in history and that we never saw again afterwards either,” summarizes Marie Eve Vaillancourt, a Quebecer who directs the exhibitions at the Juno Beach Center, a museum aiming to pay tribute to the Canadian contribution during the Second World War.

The delegation led by Minister Petitpas Taylor will travel to the Canadian military cemetery in Bény-sur-Mer on Wednesday to take part in a ceremony during which veterans will be able to pay their respects near the 2049 graves of their fallen comrades.

A statue of the Royal Regina Rifles will also be unveiled at Juno Beach to honor those who were the first to storm this beach.

On Thursday, Canada will hold a major ceremony at Juno Beach, which will be attended by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and many dignitaries. This will be followed by the international ceremony at Omaha Beach, at which US President Joe Biden has announced his presence.

Macron praises “spirit of sacrifice” in launching commemorations

French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute on Wednesday to the civilian victims of Allied bombings and praised the “spirit of sacrifice” of France's liberators by launching the commemorations of the landing of June 6, 1944, in which his American and Ukrainian counterparts participated in particular. . A strong symbol, Russia, an ally of the United States and the United Kingdom against Nazi Germany, was formally excluded from the ceremonies due to its invasion of Ukraine.

“I know our country is strong in its youth […] ready for the same spirit of sacrifice as its elders,” declared the Head of State during a first tribute to Plumelec, where “fell the first French soldier of the landing”, Corporal Émile Bouétard, who had joined England, recalled Emmanuel Macron.

Veterans still alive are in the spotlight for what will be, due to their age, the last major meeting in which they will be able to participate. Dozens of American, Canadian and British veterans, some of whom participated in the “longest day”, arrived in Normandy on Wednesday.

In the afternoon, Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the civilian victims of Allied bombings. “These deaths were the victims of our fight for freedom and the homeland,” he said. “Capital of ruins”, according to the expression of the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, Saint-Lô, 90% destroyed, is the symbol of all the cities which were bombed during the operations for the liberation of France.

Wednesday evening, Macron paid tribute to the inmates of Caen prison, mainly resistance fighters, shot by the Germans during the landing.

France Media Agency

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116