D-Day sacrifices remembered at Point Pleasant Park ceremony

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Navy News / June 20, 2019

By Ryan Melanson

As part of the signature Government of Canada events being held in Halifax to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, members of the public gathered with dignitaries and military members for a special wreath-laying ceremony at the Halifax Memorial in Point Pleasant Park on June 5.

The crowd stood in the rainy and windy weather to honour the sacrifices of those who took part in the invasion of German-occupied France that began on June 6, 1944, an operation remembered as one of the critical turning points of the Second World War.

More than 14,000 Canadians among 90,000 total allied troops went ashore on Juno Beach in Normandy, and more than 10,000 Royal Canadian Navy and Merchant Navy sailors played important roles in minesweeping and transporting troops, weapons, food and other cargo.

“From the landings at Juno Beach, through the grueling push across the French countryside in the weeks that followed, Canadian forces joined our allies in battle and helped change the course of the Second World War and the world we now live in,” said Sub-Lieutenant Edith Sullivan, who served as master of ceremonies for the day.

“This is a story about the young men and women who left their homes, families, hopes and dreams behind to serve in the cause of peace and freedom. More than 5,000 young Canadians ultimately gave their lives in Normandy; today, we remember all of them.”

Dignitaries present included the Honourable Arthur J. LeBlanc, Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia; General (Retired) Walt Natynczyk, Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs; and Rear-Admiral Craig Baines, Commander Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic.

A delegation of veterans of D-Day and the Second World War were also present, including 94-year-old Fred Turnbull, who stepped to the microphone to read the Act of Remembrance as Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Fredericton stood offshore in the background.