D-Day and Juno Beach: The Canadians (UPDATED)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted the following on the 74th anniversary of D-Day:
On the 74th anniversary of #DDay, we remember the Canadian troops who fought with great courage and made the ultimate sacrifice to liberate Europe. #LestWeForget
Along with the following photo.
In the meantime, the Daily Times, not a Canadian newspaper but rather “a family-owned newspaper based in Maryville, Tenn., near Knoxville,” published an article, “D-Day is time to remember greatness, view today with dismay.”
Please scroll to the bottom for some excerpts.
Two days from now, on June 6, the free world will be celebrating the 74th anniversary of an event that has been variously called “the defining moment of the 20th century,” “a bright and shining moment for liberal democracy,” “the greatest amphibious operation in the history of modern arms,” “the largest military operation by sea in history,” “the Great Crusade” or simply “Operation Overlord.”
On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, I noted how France and the French people expressed their “appreciation, honor and respect…for the American soldiers, sailors and airmen who helped liberate their country in World War II.”
Of course, America did not do it alone. Several allies participated not only in “Overlord,” but sacrificed blood and treasure during the entire War.
One of them that often gets forgotten is our neighbor to the North.
Canada was not only a strong partner during World War II but has steadfastly supported U.S. military efforts before (e.g. World War I) and since then, including the Korean War, the war in Afghanistan and the war against ISIS. More than 100,000 Canadian men and women have given their lives in these conflicts.
During 9/11 and its aftermath, Canadians opened their hearts to their neighbors to the South. The story of how the people of the tiny town of Gander opened their hearts and homes to nearly 7,000 passengers aboard 38 wide-body planes caught literally “in the air” by the terrorist attack, will always remind us of Canadian hospitality and friendship.
The military and defense “arrangements” with the United States for common defense and security are too numerous to list and have worked to secure Canada and the United States from missile, air and sea attack.
Finally, up to now, Canada and the United States – sharing the world’s longest undefended border — have also been the world’s largest trading partners.
“Up to now,” because President Trump’s decision to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum from Canada has not only shaken up the trade alliance but, with his comments that such measures are needed to “protect our national security,” Trump has also rubbed salt on some new wounds.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called Trump’s actions “insulting”:
The idea that the Canadian steel that’s in military, military vehicles in the United States, the Canadian aluminum that makes your, your fighter jets is somehow now a threat. Our soldiers who had fought and died together on the beaches of World War II… and the mountains of Afghanistan, and have stood shoulder to shoulder in some of the most difficult places in the world, that are always there for each other, somehow — this is insulting to them.
With the anniversary of D-Day just around the corner, let us highlight the contributions to and sacrifices in “Operation Overlord” — more specifically, “Operation Neptune” — of a nation that entered World War II a full two years before the U.S. did and a war in which over one million Canadians served, including 50,000 women.
The following are excerpts from “Juno Beach – The Canadians on D-Day,a site that “is a tribute to the men and women who served in the Canadian Army during D-Day and World War II…”
On June 6, 1944, 14,000 young Canadians from the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division stormed Juno Beach. The Canadian assault troops stormed ashore in the face of fierce opposition from German strongholds and mined beach obstacles. The soldiers raced across the wide-open beaches swept with machine gun fire, and stormed the gun positions. In fierce hand-to-hand fighting, they fought their way into the towns of Bernières, Courseulles and St. Aubin and then advanced inland, securing a critical bridgehead for the allied invasion. The victory was a turning point in World War II and led to the liberation of Europe and the defeat of Nazi Germany.
Their courage, determination and self-sacrifice were the immediate reasons for the success in those critical hours. The fighting they endured was fierce and frightening. The price they paid was high – the battles for the beachhead cost 340 Canadian lives and another 574 wounded. John Keegan, eminent British historian who wrote Six Armies in Normandy, stated the following concerning the Canadian 3rd Division on D-Day: “At the end of the day, its forward elements stood deeper into France than those of any other division. The opposition the Canadians faced was stronger than that of any other beach save Omaha. That was an accomplishment in which the whole nation could take considerable pride.”
Read more about the Juno Beach Landing here and watch the video below, courtesy of www.junobeach.info
Lead image: LCA (Landing Craft Assault) containing Winnipeg Rifles head for the Normandy beaches. Photo by Dennis Sullivan. Department of National Defence / National Archives of Canada.
On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 allied troops crossed the English Channel and stormed the shores of Normandy to begin the drive to push the Nazis out of France and into disgraced history.
It was a day of horror and destruction. It was a time for courage and for heroes. It was a day that changed the world.
Too bad that remembrance of that day is tainted on today with a fight with our neighbor to the north with whom the United States shares the longest, most-peaceful national border in the world.
The article then addresses the recent tariffs on imported Canadian steel and aluminum imposed by president Trump, allegedly because of “national security” and quotes Canadian Prime Minister Justine Trudeau’s reaction to those words and actions, as described in the original article, above.
The Times recalls the bravery of and sacrifices by the Canadian troops on Juno Beach and of all the Normandy invasion troops, by quoting the stirring words by the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Western Europe, General Dwight D. Eisenhower. In part:
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory. Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
The Times concludes with the questions:
What happened to great and noble undertakings? When did Canada become the enemy? When the history of 21st century economic warfare that divides allies is written, who will be blamed for firing the first shot?
It is truly sad that today those questions even need to be asked.
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