BARRY’S BAY – June 6, 2014 marked 70 years since the Allied invasion of Normandy, perhaps better known as D-Day, in 1944.
The Barry’s Bay Legion hosted 100 guests, including 24 veterans of various conflicts, to mark the occasion and to hold a vigil through the night.
As the evening’s ceremonies began, MPP John Yakabuski was invited to lead the guests as they sang the national anthem. Yakabuski then thanked the Legion for inviting him to speak, and he outlined some of the history of D-Day.
“That was the turning point in the war,” said Yakabuski, whose father fought in the battle for Caen and went to France as part of Operation Overlord, the name given to the greater plan to retake France from Nazi forces.
Operation Neptune was the name given to the landing on the beaches of Normandy. Canadian soldiers were given the task of taking Juno Beach, while American soldiers took Omaha and Utah, and the British took Sword and Gold. Yakabuski’s father, like so many other soldiers, fought in the battle for Caen hardly a day after the assault on Juno Beach.
340 Canadian soldiers lost their lives on Juno Beach.
“Today we celebrate, remember and thank all of those who made that sacrifice,” said Yakabuski.
Madawaska Valley Township Mayor David Shulist spoke next.
“These brave soldiers, you have to give them total credit,” he said of those who lost their lives. “Seventy years later, we will definitely not forget.”
Reverend Darlene Cunliffe was present to say grace before the dinner, and took a moment to express how honoured she was to be invited.
Leah Kinghorn, president of the Ladies’ Auxiliary for the Barry’s Bay Legion and branch secretary, was very pleased with the turnout.
Get your June 11, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read more of this story.