The City of Toronto commemorated the 67th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy at City Hall’s Nathan Phillips Square today. On June 6, 1944, Canada took part in the D-Day invasion that marked the beginning of the liberation of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark during theSecond World War.
Mayor Rob Ford welcomed veterans and the public to the event and officially proclaimed “Toronto Remembers D-Day, June 6, 2011.” Mayor Ford then presented the proclamation to D-Day veteran and keynote speaker John "Jack" Martin, Warrant Officer with the Queen's Own Rifles and a D-Day veteran.
"We owe so much to the brave soldiers who stormed Juno Beach as part of the Allied Forces’ offensive that changed the course of the Second World War," said Mayor Ford. "History has shown us that it was the beginning of the end of the war. We are forever in their debt."
Among the veterans participating in today’s event were William Stanfield, a D-Day veteran and a member of the Toronto Firefighters’ War Veterans Colour Guard, who read the Act of Remembrance after Reveille; Janet Watt, president of the Wren Association of Toronto; and Leo Leach of the Toronto EMS Honour Guard. Ms. Watt and Mr. Leach sang a selection of Second World War era songs before the formal ceremony, then Mr. Leach sang “O Canada” and Ms. Watt later sang “God Save the Queen.” Kevin Frankish of Citytv's Breakfast Television acted as master of ceremonies.
Participating honour guards and bands included the Canadian Army Veterans Motorcycle Unit; Toronto Civic Honour Guard; Toronto Police Ceremonial Unit; Toronto Firefighters’ War Veterans Colour Guard; Toronto Emergency Medical Services Honour Guard; Toronto Transit Commission Supervisory Honour Guard; the Canadian Armed Forces - 32 Brigade and HMCS York; the Royal Canadian Legion; Navy, Army, Air Force Veterans in Canada; Naval Club of Toronto/Toronto Sea Cadet Alumni Association; Wren Association of Toronto (the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service); Navy League Cadet Corps Ark Royal; the Toronto Police Pipe Band and the Toronto Fire Services Pipes and Drums.
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