Today was a very emotional day for many of our Veterans – and for our Team too. This morning the group started the morning visiting the Juno Beach Centre for the “opening” of the Canadian events to take place over the next three days. There were speeches by dignitaries, including Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino and the Mayor of Courselles, who welcomed the Veterans, family members and guests to the celebrations. After the speeches the Veterans mingled around the Centre and the beach as they remembered and reflected.
Our very own Honorary Chief, Major General Richard Rohmer, who is also the Advisor to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, was present, meeting and greeting his fellow Veterans and all those who wished to say hello or have a photo taken. The MGen also delivered a book from the students who took part in the coin launch while back in Ottawa to the Director of the Juno Beach Centre. This special book was gratefully taken and will display it for visitors to see.
Another special activity for a number of Veterans who were awarded the coveted Legion d’Honour medal from the President and people of France.
Later this afternoon the group travelled to Beny-sur-Mer Cemetery for a wonderful ceremony of remembrance and reflection, followed by the Act of Remembrance. Some 5,000 people participated in this event, Canadian Veterans, family members and hundreds of French citizens who shared tears and thanks for those who were buried at Beny-sur-Mer, and for those who returned to remember their comrades.
This has been a tough day for all….and tomorrow is going to be another tough day as we return to the vivid memories of D-Day 70. Thankfully, the staff of Toronto EMS will be there to support them every step of the way!