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80th anniversary of D-Day celebrated in Ottawa

Ottawa residents, dignitaries and military members gathered Thursday at the Cartier Drill Hall to celebrate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

A Grade 4 class from Pierre Elliott Trudeau Elementary School in Gatineau was also in attendance and received a lesson in history that is also woven into the fabric of their past.

“We have many students who have grandparents who were in the war and a lot of what they experience now, a lot of the luxuries they have in life, is because of the people who gave up so much for us. ” said teacher Rick Patricio.

People like Patricia Poole’s father, who landed in Europe twenty days after D-Day. He was loaned to the British Army during the war as part of a volunteer program.

“Dad talked about it a lot,” Poole said. “It’s sometimes hard to get vets to relive it and he told us how hard it was and about losing friends.”

It was the largest sea, air and land operation the world had ever seen. The entire operation would take 77 days and entail enormous costs, with more than 5,000 Canadian casualties.

“The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, my unit, were the only Ottawa-based regiment in the D-Day landings. We had some resilient, incredible, normal people doing extraordinary things,” said M. Cpl. Afton David.

As memories fade into history, the service was a promise never to be forgotten.

“It’s easy to take it all for granted and not recognize that we have to take a stand every now and then if we want to maintain peace and freedom,” said Larry Murray, Dominion Grand President.

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