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Published Time: 05.06.2024 - 12:14:25 Modified Time: 05.06.2024 - 12:14:25

The atmosphere that we encountered on the coast almost defies description D-Day


I knew that I needed to go back.

Although I have been back to Normandy since then with my fiancé, and was in the Netherlands on a battlefield tour on June 6 last year, I have yet to go back for an anniversary, let alone a major one. Earlier this year, I put my name on a mailing list from the Department of Veterans Affairs to be notified when registration for the 80th anniversary ceremony began. At the end of April, I was informed that registration opened, but I was emphatically told that just because I had registered, did not mean that I would be able to attend.

The atmosphere that we encountered on the coast almost defies description

Flash forward to May 25, less than two weeks away from the anniversary, and my attendance was approved for the official ceremony. Within a matter of hours, I had booked my flights and accommodation, and had rented a car. Now, here I am, three weeks out from my wedding, on an impromptu trip back to France to attend the 80th Anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy at the Juno Beach Centre.

While the entirety of my trip has been built around attending the official Canadian ceremony on June 6, I have filled my time with as many commemorative activities as possible. I will be visiting Bény-sur-Mer twice, once for a commemorative ceremony hosted by the Government of Canada, and once for a candlelight vigil hosted by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

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