Seventy-five years ago this week, D-Day was the world’s largest amphibious invasion. We’ve seen the thousands of war dead memorialized as the bravest men the greatest generation could offer.
And we know that on June 6, 1944 they were young. Some were still in their teens. Many were sick. And they moved forward anyway.
Marine tanks sunk. Paratroopers were gunned down. Kids were cut down like wheat — 359 Canadian soldiers died before the day was over. And when the day was over, they kept moving forward.
Germany surrendered the following spring. Today, those who landed on D-Day are old men in their 90s, dwindling in number. But many stood again on the beaches of France this week remembering and being honoured for their sacrifice.
They are people like Harry Greenwood of West Vancouver and Norman Kirby of Lions Bay, who were among the Allies who served at D-Day.
The Canadians who landed on Juno Beach that day were all volunteers. They were scared, but they had a job to do. Those soldiers defeated the Nazis.
When Kirby returned home he was 19 — not yet able to vote or have a drink in a bar.
Most veterans, in the years following, spoke little about what they’d encountered.
But theirs was a resilient generation. They came back from the horrors of war and built a country.
Their example still has much to teach us about duty and standing up for what is right. This week, we say thank you for a job well done.
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