Evening Honouring D-Day Veterans on the 80th Anniversary of the D-Day Landing

On May 13, 2024, a memorable event was held to honour D-Day veterans. The evening began with a warm welcome from the Master of Ceremonies, Robert Loken of Veterans Affairs Canada, who graciously acknowledged the ancestral territory on which the event was taking place.

Following this, Marie-France Lalonde, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Orléans, was introduced and delivered heartfelt remarks that set the tone for the evening. Her words highlighted the importance of remembering and honouring those who served during the Second World War.

Marie-France Lalonde, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence and Member of Parliament for Orléans

Robert Loken then introduced a poignant video featuring interviews with various Second World War veterans and including archival footage from the D-Day landings. This video offered a vivid and emotional glimpse into history. After the video, Mr. Loken provided a brief summary and added additional historical context to the D-Day landings, deepening the audience's understanding and appreciation of the sacrifices made by these brave soldiers.

Next, Nick McCarthy of the Beechwood Cemetery was invited to deliver his remarks. He shared his thoughts and reflections on the significance of the evening and the importance of remembering those who have passed. Mr. McCarthy also highlighted the notable figures buried in the cemetery, saying, "On these grounds are buried many figures who bore witness to D-Day, such as General Harry Crerar and General Charles Foulkes. Their leadership and strategic brilliance were instrumental in shaping the course of history and ensuring our victory."

Following Mr.McCarthy's speech, Mr. Loken introduced another moving video, the Norm Kirby – Legacy of Honour interview, which captured the audience's attention and hearts. Karen Hunter from the Canadian Remembrance Torch was then invited to speak. Her remarks further emphasised the evening's themes of remembrance and honour.

Canadian Remembrance Torch

After thanking Mrs. Hunter, Mr. Loken signalled for the lighting of the Canadian Remembrance Torch, a symbolic act followed by the announcement of a candlelight procession led by Cadets. This procession was designed to honour prominent Second World War Veterans and figures within the cemetery. Guests departed the Memorial Cross building and proceeded into Section 27 of Beechwood Cemetery, led by Mr. McCarthy. During the candlelight procession, local cadets and guests were guided through Section 27, where Mr.McCarthy highlighted the prominent Second World War Veterans buried there.

The procession concluded with cadets and guests placing candles at the Cenotaph, a touching tribute to those who served. The evening was a powerful and moving tribute to the veterans of D-Day and the Second World War, ensuring their sacrifices are remembered and honoured by future generations. Guests departed at their leisure, carrying with them the profound impact of the night’s commemorations.

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