CNE Warriors' Day Parade recognizes 75th anniversary of Dieppe Raid
More than 2000 veterans and current serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces participated
Torontonians filled Exhibition Place on Saturday to honour veterans of the First and Second World Wars at the 96th annual Warriors' Day Parade.
This year's ceremony commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the 75th Anniversary of the Dieppe Raid.
For survivors of war who experienced the conflict first-hand, the ceremony was a reminder of how significant their efforts were.
Neill spent six years overseas with an advanced team in the Canadian Army from 1939 to 1944.
While his memories may be a little bit foggy now, Neill said he still remembers fighting in the war and exchanging enemy fire with Vickers machine guns.
"It was just amazing, you know. Like that was reality. We see movies but he was there in real life," said his son-in-law, Jim Emmerson.
"It's good to come in contact with [veterans] and ask them about their stories...they give us their life experience about being in the military. I'm glad that they're here," said trooper Melissa Frangella.
Many of the veterans spent the day taking time to also reflect on the lives lost.
The Dieppe Raid holds the record for the most amount of Canadian deaths in a single day, ultimately claiming the lives of more than 900 people.
"I lost a lot of good friends, I got hit myself...it wasn't all blood and guts, we had a lot of fun too," said veteran Hern Pike.
Despite the bittersweet memories Warriors' Day Parade brought up for veterans, some family members like Jennifer Emmerson, daughter Harry Neill said they were honoured.
"It's amazing to see the determination of these senior veterans to remember, the willingness to come out for their fellow comrades and people of arms that they served with. I'm extremely proud of my father, " she said.