British Columbia

Combat boots begin cross-country journey to honour 75th anniversary of D-Day

A pair of combat boots has been loaded on a train in Vancouver to begin a cross-country journey symbolizing the thousands of Canadians who travelled to Halifax during the Second World War before they embarked for Europe.

Boots serve as reminder of Canadians who traded civilian shoes for combat boots during Second World War

Members of the Canadian Forces carry a pair of combat boots to a VIA Rail train to begin their journey to Halifax, at Pacific Central Station in Vancouver, on Friday March 29, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

A pair of combat boots has been loaded on a train in Vancouver to begin a cross-country journey symbolizing those who travelled to Halifax during the Second World War before they embarked for Europe.

Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay addressed active and retired members of the Canadian Forces who gathered at the VIA Rail Canada terminal for a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.

He says the boots serve as a visual reminder of the thousands of Canadians who traded their civilian shoes for combat boots and travelled halfway around the world to fight for freedom, democracy and peace.

More than 5,000 Canadians died in the Battle of Normandy and 359 were killed on June 6, 1944, known as D-Day.

Agnes Keegan, centre, who served in the British Army in the Second World War and now lives in Canada, and Canadian veterans George Chow, left, and Bill Cameron, right, who were part of the Battle of Normandy, salute while singing the national anthem during the departure ceremony. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Eight veterans of the Second World War gathered at the terminal for the ceremony including George Chow, who says he was just a teenager hoping for adventure when he arrived at the same station in 1941.

MacAulay says commemorative ceremonies will be held in nine communities across the country as the train makes its journey.

Members of the Canadian Forces carry a pair of combat boots to a VIA Rail train to begin their journey to Halifax, at Pacific Central Station in Vancouver, on Friday March 29, 2019. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The federal government says it is also hosting several other remembrance events for the anniversary, including events at the Sailors' Memorial and Citadel National Historic Site in Halifax and a candelight ceremony in Victoria in the coming months.

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