Prime Minister marks D-Day anniversary

  • Jun. 6, 2013 5:00 p.m.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement today to mark the 69th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, D-Day: “On the morning of June 6, 1944, Allied Forces from Canada, the United States, Great Britain, and other Allied nations launched one of the most ambitious amphibious assaults of all time along an 80-kilometre stretch of beach in Northern France to put an end once and for all to Hitler’s occupation of Europe. “It is an enormous source of national pride that Canadians played such a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the D-Day landings, one of the great battles of the Second World War. “On that day, our airmen dropped thousands of pounds of bombs on German coastal fortifications, protected our soldiers on the beaches and attacked German formations on the ground. Our paratroopers captured enemy positions and destroyed enemy infrastructure. “The 109 vessels and 10,000 sailors of the Royal Canadian Navy helped keep the German fleet bottled up in ports, cleared mines across the English Channel, silenced enemy batteries on the shoreline, and carried Canadian troops and landing craft to the battle. “Finally, the soldiers of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division and 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade through raw courage, grit and determination engaged in fierce combat on the beaches and in the small towns of Normandy helping smash the first line of German coastal defences. In fact, by the evening of June 6, 1944, Canadian troops had progressed further inland than any of their Allies – a proud and remarkable accomplishment. “The day took a heavy toll. To secure victory on D-Day, 340 Canadians gave their lives, 574 were wounded and 47 taken prisoner. “Let us pause on this day to recall and honour the noble sacrifices of these heroes who with other Allied forces turned the tide of the war, rid Europe of the Nazi scourge, and paid a price so that we and so many others might be able to enjoy peace and freedom with our families. While it is an impossible debt to repay, we honour their memory. “Lest we forget.”