D-Day remembered in Grande Prairie

On Saturday, local dignitaries and visitors from across the country gathered at the Veterans Memorial Gardens and Interpretive Centre to remember the Battle of Normandy and D-Day.

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the campaign, which is touted as the beginning of the end of the Second World War.

“Alberta played a significant role during D-Day in World War Two by contributing soldiers, seamen, pilots and resources to our allied forces; many of among the brave souls who landed on Juno Beach or flew overhead were from northwestern Alberta,” said Justin Wright, Alberta Military Liaison, at Saturday’s ceremony.

“As we remember D-Day, let us also recognize the profound impact it's had on shaping our modern world; we must never forget the price of freedom, it's paid in blood spilt on the beaches of Normandy, and it will not be forgotten, and it will not be taken in vain.”

Col. Vanessa Hanrahan, Canadian Military Police provost marshal, spoke of her time visiting the beaches of Normandy.

“My first thought when I walked on the beach was absolute shock, and I was in shock because the kids were playing in a place that we regard in such high esteem of what happened, and it took me about 30 seconds to sit back and realize the reason people died was so kids could play in the sand,” she said.

“I will always remember that, and I will always remember that as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, or anyone who serves our country, regardless of the uniform that you may wear, that the reason we do that is so that the people standing beside us and the people who come after us can enjoy life as we know it in Canada.”

A dinner at the D Coy Armouries followed the ceremony on Saturday.

On Sunday, a ceremony marked the opening of the Blueberry Mountain History and Community Walkway.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News