Official visit to New Brunswick – 80th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy

June 6, 2024

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Before I begin, let me thank Chief Richardson and others for welcoming us to the traditional territory of the Wolastoqey, Mi’gmaw and Peskotomuhkati peoples. 

It’s important to know the full history of Canada, which shows respect to the First Peoples of this land. 

There is much to learn from their stories and their lived experiences, and I hope we all take the time to listen.

I am honoured to be here in New Brunswick to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. 

Canadians across the country are marking this important milestone. We all understand how important this moment was in our history.

As commander-in-chief, I thank the veterans with us today, as well as every serving member of the Canadian Armed Forces. I would also like to honour those who are no longer with us—those who stormed the beaches of Normandy and those who sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom.

We remember the young people who fought by land, sea and air 80 years ago.

We remember the soldiers from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and many other nations who stood shoulder to shoulder. They were bound by a common cause, and their determination and resilience changed the course of history.

We remember this day, 80 years ago, on that 80 kilometre stretch of the Normandy coast that so clearly represented our resolve as Allies to fight for freedom.

We remember because so many lives were lost, and so many others came home with injuries both physical and mental.

We remember because this is an important part of our history. 

We must learn from the lessons of the past.

We honour every veteran when we strive towards dialogue, understanding and peace. Since the Second World War, we have worked to achieve these goals. We have seen great progress, but we are not there yet. 

Another lesson was taught on D-Day: a lesson in diversity.

The soldiers represented different cultures, languages and traditions. This diversity was instrumental in D-Day’s ultimate success. 

The Allies needed different perspectives, skills and experiences to succeed. They needed the contributions of people from all walks of life, including Indigenous peoples, racialized communities and immigrants.

During the Battle of Normandy, we saw the strength of our diversity.

Take that lesson and extend it beyond the battlefield. There is a struggle for equality and inclusion still happening in Canada and beyond. Let us create not only a peaceful world, but also one where every voice is accepted and celebrated, and where everyone can thrive. 

The responsibility to carry these stories and lessons forward falls to each of us.

It also falls to each of us to pass on the importance of remembrance to the next generation. I know we will take this responsibility seriously. 

To our veterans and their families, now and always, we will continue to say: thank you from a grateful country.

We will remember them. 

 Thank you.