Combat boots begin cross-country journey to honour 75th anniversary of D-Day
Boots serve as reminder of Canadians who traded civilian shoes for combat boots during Second World War
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.
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.
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.