70th anniversary of D-Day landings
British Columbia is the first one to reward its soldiers of the Second World War who courageously participated to the Allied landings on Normandy beaches. The 6th of June will mark indeed the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Europe, and a series of events will take place in France and around the world.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and three provincial Premiers will come to Normandy next month and be officially received by French President, François Hollande.
On May 21st, B.C. veterans were presented with the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur, France’s highest honour, by Consul General of France in Vancouver M. Jean-Christophe Fleury, on behalf of the President of France.
To celebrate this 70th anniversary, the French government has decided to bestow awards upon all of the living Canadian veterans who participated in D-Day operations. _ This process will last two years and will concern in total 390 Canadian veterans, 66 of whom are from B.C. As for this year, 49 Canadian veterans have been identified in March by the French President to receive the Legion d’Honneur, 10 of whom are from B.C.
During the dinner in Vancouver, Finance Minister Michael de Jong announced that the province will contribute $2,000 to support the cost of travel for each and every Canadian veteran that will attend D-Day ceremony in Normandy next month.
M. Fleury expressed France’s profound and infinite gratitude towards these young Canadian men that crossed the Atlantics and bravely fought to free Europe from tyranny and brought ultimately peace on the continent.
The Legion d’Honneur is the highest decoration that France can bestow and, as such, it is equivalent to the Order of Canada. The law that brought the Legion of Honour and its governing organization into effect was passed in the Legislative Assembly on May 19th, 1802, during the reign of Napoleon. It rewards the outstanding merits of individuals from all walks of life, regardless of their respective social, economic, hereditary or even national backgrounds.