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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Normandy invasion remembered in NOTL 80 years later
The NOTL branch of the Royal Canadian Legion will fly its Canadian Juno Beach flag over the cenotaph on Queen Street June 6. RICHARD WRIGHT

Niagara-on-the-Lake will be the site for a pair of events on June 6 and 7, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy by Allied forces during the Second World War.

In the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, five sections of an 80-kilometre stretch of coastal France in Normandy were stormed by the Allied Forces of Great Britain, the United States and Canada.

Each beach was given a code name by the Allies: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Sword and Juno. The opposition was an occupying German army. 

The Canadians were given the task of clearing Juno, playing a huge role in the liberation of France, which was the first step of an all-out European invasion that led to the defeat of Germany and to the end of the war.

Using a Canadian flag that it purchased and flew over Juno Beach last September, the NOTL branch of the Royal Canadian Legion will raise those colours in the community on June 6.

Branch president Al Howse says starting at noon, a small contingent of members will march the flag a few steps from the front of the old Court House onto the Queen Street median, where the cenotaph is located.

Members of the public are invited and encouraged to participate. 

“It will be a small ceremony,” said Howse. “The whole thing should take about 10 minutes.”

Songs of the D-Day era

On Friday, June 7, St. Mark’s Anglican Church will be the setting of an event produced by local amateur historians that will recount the horrors and importance of D-Day through music and spoken word.

Each segment will be orated by classically trained Hollywood actor James Mainprize, now a resident of NOTL, and will feature the songs of Vera Lynn, Bing Crosby, the Andrews Sisters and other musical acts of the 1940s.

Soloist Melissa-Marie Shriner and pianist Michael Bloss will provide the musical accompaniment.

The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are available through the church office.

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