At this year’s Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships, hundreds of young athletes gathered at a beach on the British Columbia coast to pay homage to the men of the 3rd Canadian Division who fought in the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944. The commemoration was organized as part of the Legion’s efforts to foster the tradition of Remembrance among Canadian youth.
The D-Day commemoration instilled in the young athletes a sense of the life and death struggles the men of the 3rd Canadian Division faced. During the ceremony, athletes were encouraged to look around and imagine landing at the edge of the water at low tide and advancing through mines, obstacles, an artillery barrage and machine gun fire strafing every inch of the beach. Although on a different ocean and a different continent much further East, this beach is a solemn example of the landscape that was encountered on the 6th of June , 1944. Like the athletes, the men who fought in the D-Day landings came from all parts of the country. Yet these brave men paid a great price. Of the 14,500 Canadians who landed, approximately 340 Canadians died on the beaches and inland that day.
Each athlete was invited to plant a cross or flag to honour those who fought that day for the freedoms we all have today. It was a moment to pause, reflect, and remember the service and sacrifices of all Veterans.
Lest We Forget