70th Anniversary of D-Day

Mr. Speaker, last week, I was honoured to be one of the parliamentarians to accompany nearly 100 Canadian veterans, as we returned to France for the 70th commemoration of the landings of D-Day and the wider Battle of Normandy. Over 14,000 Canadians served, and 5,000 paid the ultimate sacrifice.

We visited hallowed ground like Juno Beach and the Abbaye D’Ardenne. I was inspired by the veterans I met, including Thomas Wheler, an RCAF Spitfire pilot, who spent part of the war as a prisoner of war; and Francis Goodon, an aboriginal veteran from Manitoba, who travelled to France with his son, also a veteran. He served in the Winnipeg Rifles and landed literally metres from where the Juno Beach Centre now stands.

I was also happy to see hundreds of Canadian youth from across our country on Juno Beach for the 70th anniversary, including high schools like Clarington Central Secondary School and Clarke High School, in my riding. That way, we showed that Canadian youth will indeed hold the torch high.

Lest we forget.

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