Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) during the Second World War:
“Today, Canada and the international community commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe over Nazi Germany, a fascist regime rooted in racism and anti-Semitism that committed mass murder, scarring the world forever with the Holocaust.
“For Canadians, it is a day to pause and honour the more than one million brave Canadians and Newfoundlanders who, along with Allies, put their lives on the line to end the tyranny in Europe. They did so to protect the values of freedom and democracy that Canadians hold so dear, and because it was the right thing to do.
“It is also a day to pay tribute to the more than 45,000 selfless sailors, soldiers and airmen who made the supreme sacrifice and the more than 55,000 who were injured during the Second World War. We will forever be grateful to them and their families for their service to our country.
“Places such as Ortona, Juno Beach, Caen, the Falaise Gap, and the Scheldt, where Canadians secured important victories over the Nazis, still echo with the honour of our service members who fought so courageously for freedom there.
“A few days ago I had the privilege of joining Canadian veterans and Allies participating in ceremonies marking the Liberation of the Netherlands. It was particularly rewarding to see young Canadians – including cadets – in attendance, learning first-hand about Canada’s involvement in this pivotal moment of the Second World War.
“On this V-E Day anniversary, let us also pay tribute to the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who worked so hard on the home front to produce the war materials needed by our troops and our Allies.
“The tremendous contributions made by Canada, as well as the commitment, ingenuity and professionalism demonstrated by our service members during the Second World War, generated huge international recognition for our country and immense national pride that united us like never before. As we count down towards the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation in 2017, let us honour this important chapter in our country’s history that was written by our brave men and women in blood and sweat on the beaches, fields and mountains of Europe.
“On this historic day, I encourage all Canadians to take the time to learn more about this remarkable part of our country’s history. I also call on Canadians to join me in offering our heartfelt gratitude to all members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families, as they courageously continue to put the welfare of our great country ahead of their own, both at home and in places like Iraq and Syria, so that we all can live in peace.
“Lest we forget.”