The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Rotunda, Manitoba Legislative Building
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 – 12:00 p.m.
Fellow Manitobans, Veterans, MLA’s, members and friends of the Canadian Armed Forces, Canadians united in memory – it is an honour to share in this commemoration of a time of courage, perseverance and sacrifice.
I begin by acknowledging that the Anishinaabe and Metis people lived here long before this place became Winnipeg. This city remains home to the largest Indigenous community in Canada.
We are gathered today to commemorate Canada’s participation in the largest seaborne invasion in the history of the world – the massive operation that began the liberation of Western Europe from brutal tyranny.
When we think about D-Day, it’s easy to get lost in the sheer unimaginable scale of it.
Canada’s contribution alone is hard to imagine – 14,000 soldiers landing on June 6, 110 Royal Canadian Navy ships manned by 10,000 sailors, 15 Royal Canadian Air Force squadrons.
In a single day, 359 Canadians killed and nearly 700 others injured.
That mind-boggling scale continued throughout the two and a half months of the Normandy Campaign – which cost more than 5,000 Canadian lives.
On that day, June 6th, 75 years after the Allied forces were watching the weather and making their final preparations, we must keep in mind that for all its scale, the story of D-Day is also thousands upon thousands of individual stories.
Stories of teenagers signing up to serve their country. Stories of facing fear and uncertainty. Stories of unimaginable bravery and of loss. Stories of determination to build a better life in a time of peace.
Each of the tens of thousands of Canadians who took part in D-Day on land, sea or air was a part of something far greater than any one person. Each remained at the same time one individual.
For us, living our lives in the world they made possible, we can honour their courage and sacrifice by freely committing ourselves to something larger. We can be part of our community and our country through volunteer service and leadership and participation in the civic life of democracy.
We can do so while respecting the individuality, humanity and rights of others.
We can never repay the debt we owe to the Canadians who gave their all on D-Day, but we can honour their sacrifice through our memory and our actions.
Thank you. Merci. Meegwich.