Premier John Horgan has released the following statement in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy:
“On June 6, 1944, 14,000 Canadian soldiers landed on Juno Beach in France as part of the Battle of Normandy during the Second World War. This day has since become known as D-Day; a day that cost 359 Canadians their lives.
“Canadians suffered the greatest casualties of the British Army Group during the Battle of Normandy. In addition to those who lost their lives on D-Day, 5,000 Canadians died during the two-and-a-half-month battle that followed. For those who survived, many returned with scars both visible and invisible.
“On this important anniversary, we pay tribute to the Canadians who sacrificed their lives for our rights and freedoms, including Chinese Canadians, South Asian Canadians, Black and Indigenous soldiers who fought to preserve our democracy even while they were denied the right to vote. We also acknowledge Japanese Canadian veterans who were prevented from participating due to the discriminatory treatment they experienced throughout the Second World War. Through their sacrifice and the advocacy of their communities, Canada extended civil rights to all Canadians and our province is stronger because of their actions.
“I was humbled to attend ceremonies on Juno Beach, recognizing Canada’s important contributions to the war. Leading up to this anniversary, I have had the privilege of meeting some B.C.-based veterans with extraordinary stories.
“I was moved to receive a plaque from Legion Manor Victoria and a pin from the Canadian Scottish Regiment of Victoria – one of the two British Columbian regiments that fought at Juno Beach – at a veterans’ tea at Government House, hosted by Lt. Gov Janet Austin. I wore this pin with respect at the Juno Beach ceremonies to honour the brave men and women whose selfless actions allowed us the freedoms we know today.
“The sacrifices made by our veterans must never be forgotten. I wish to express my deep gratitude for the veterans who served our country and liberated our allies from tyranny.
“Building a more peaceful and tolerant world begins with respectfully acknowledging the past and learning from our history. On this important anniversary, let us all commit to upholding the values of peace and freedom.”