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Canadians played important role in D-Day invasion

Carlyle's legion branch pays tribute to those who participated in the D-Day invasion.
A photo of a landing craft loaded with Canadian infantry destined for Juno Beach,

CARLYLE - There are many days in our culture that have significance for various reasons: Christmas Day, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and so forth. 

For most there is no reason to explain the meaning or background, but there are a few that we need to revere even though the meaning may not be intuitively obvious.  

June 6, 1944 is one of those.  Personally, it was coincidentally my mother’s 25th birthday. At the time, she knew the world was at war. Many of her friends and family were overseas, doing things that were unimaginable to the people at home. 

Unlike today, the only information would come by the occasional letter, or reports in the newspaper or radio. I am sure she celebrated her birthday modestly, with no knowledge of the world-shaking events that were occurring.

The morning of June 6, 1944, was the beginning of the largest seaborne invasion that has ever occurred, D-Day.  On that day, in excess of 156,000 Allied troops from the U.S., Britain and Canada landed on the beaches of Normandy. On that day, 1,760 British service personnel, 2,500 American service personnel and 370 Canadian service personnel gave their lives. 

This was the beginning of the liberation of a continent that had been subjugated by what could only be described as an evil regime. The Nazi Third Reich was uncomprehendingly evil and the free nations of the world had banded together to defeat them. The battle for Italy had begun in September 1943, but the invasion of Normandy was unparalleled. 

The final defeat of the Nazis would not happen until May 8, 1945, almost a year later, with the end of the Second World War happening after Japan’s surrender on Sept. 2, 1945. 

Although there were many battles to come after June 6, 1944, with many advances, many retreats and much loss of life, that day marks the landing and establishment of a beachhead that led to the ultimate downfall of the most evil regime of modern history.   The memory of this invasion must not be forgotten. 

June 6, 2024, was the 80th anniversary of this important date, and very few eyewitnesses to that day are still with us, but many of those who fought that day have documented their experiences and that information is available in various museums and memorials. I hope you took a moment on June 6 to stop and think about the freedoms and privileges that we enjoy, and bless those who gave so much in the fight to preserve them. 

Lest we forget.