Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Canada's Veterans Made an Extraordinary Contribution to Victory on D-Day

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Canada's Veterans Made an Extraordinary Contribution to Victory on D-Day

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Canada's veterans made an extraordinary contribution to victory on D-Day

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An editorial from the Toronto Star, published June 5:

They're old men now, those few who survive -- men who stormed ashore on Juno Beach 70 years ago amid a clatter of enemy machine-gun fire and the roar of 88-mm artillery shells.

They passed through a killing field and into history as part of Operation Overlord, the largest seaborne invasion ever undertaken. But not all who took part in D-Day would live to grow old, become grandfathers and look back on a victory vital to the overthrow of Nazi Germany.

More than 350 Canadians perished on landing, by air and by sea, most felled in the first and only combat they would know.

Legendary journalist Ross Munro described the dead of both sides -- the blood-stained bodies of Germans and Canadians mingled around gun emplacements near the beach, including those of soldiers who had been his friends. "They had lived a few minutes of this victory they had made," he wrote. "That was all."

For their sake, and for those who survived, Canadians have an obligation to mark June 6, the 70th anniversary of D-Day. All of us should remember and honour the victory they had made. But we owe them -- and Canadian veterans of every era -- more than that. They deserve better treatment, more financial security, and a smoother transition into civilian life.

Commemorating D-Day is particularly apt in light of Canada's extraordinary contribution to that triumph. With less than 11 million people when the Second World War began, this country put more than a million men and women in uniform. A fifth of the Royal Air Force bomber crews pounding German emplacements before the invasion were Canadian. More than 100 Canadian ships and 10,000 sailors took part in the great Allied armada. And, by the end of D-Day, forward elements of the 14,000 men who landed at Juno Beach had pushed deeper into occupied France than any other Allied division. …

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