PRIME MINISTER'S OFFICE
Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy:
It is an honour and a privilege to be in France today on D-Day with our Veterans on the very beaches of Normandy where, 70 years ago, Canadian and Allied forces smashed through the German defences to help put an end to Nazi tyranny in Europe.
It is difficult to understand the courage it took to advance through minefields and barbed wire under fire from mortars and machine guns in order to punch through Hitler’s Atlantic Wall; and yet that is exactly what many Canadians did.
It must be said that they received valiant support from the Royal Canadian Air Force airmen who helped take control of the skies over the beachhead, from members of the Royal Canadian Navy who rained fire on enemy defences, and from other Canadian soldiers who parachuted behind enemy lines to engage German strongholds.
It is a source of enormous national pride that Canadians played such a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the D-Day landings, one of the greatest battles of the Second World War and a turning point in the world’s history.
We are also deeply humbled by the enormous sacrifices made by our fellow citizens, who with grim determination, stood shoulder-to-shoulder with like-minded allies to fight evil.
The thousands of Canadian soldiers who lay in Bretteville-sur-Laize cemetery in France are a poignant reminder that our country will always stand up for what is good, what is right and what is just.
It was as true then as it has been in the years since the Second World War in places like Korea, Afghanistan and Libya.
On this day, let us pay tribute to the noble Canadian and Allied forces who fought so valiantly 70 years ago on the beaches of Normandy so that we could live in freedom and peace.
Let us remember those who fell and resolve to live as bravely as they died. Let us also honour their families who gave so much.
“Lest we forget.”