Remembering D-Day in Normandy, France

Learn how you can help mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Europe on June 6, 2019.

Port-en-Bessin, photo by DLL/OT Bayeux Intercom.

On June 6, 1944, in the largest military operation of its kind, 156,000 Canadian, British and American troops stormed five beaches in Nazi-occupied Normandy on the northern coast of France, setting in motion the end of the Second World War in Europe. To mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a number of activities are planned throughout the region.

Omaha Beach

From June 1 to 9, there will be a reconstruction of a U.S. military camp created by the Omaha Beach Memory Association at Rue de la Hérode in Vierville-sur-Mer. A floating causeway will be open from June 6 to 9 with a photo exhibit, period infirmary and tours of military vehicles.

Sword Beach

Photo by Mathilde Lelandais.

Luc-sur-Mer will host a parade on June 8, along with an exhibit of jeeps and motorcycles from the era. An open-air dance, a jazz concert and bagpipe performances are also planned in the community.

Gold Beach

On June 6, there will be a walk to commemorate the march members of the 47 Royal Marine Commando made from Gold Beach to liberate Port-en-Bessin, 20 kilometres behind enemy lines. Special tours will also take place in the towns around the Gold Beach area, including Bayeux and Longues-sur-Mer.

Utah Beach

Veterans from the U.S. and actors from 2001’s TV mini-series Band of Brothers will attend the Normandy WWII International Film Festival’s red-carpet event at the Utah Beach Museum on June 2. Events are planned throughout the week, including discussions with the actors and screenings of films and shorts related to the war in Carentan. 

Juno Beach

Photo by Dukas Presseagentur GmbH/Alamy.

Set on the beach where Canadian troops landed, the Juno Beach Centre preserves the legacy and stories of Canada’s role in the Second World War. The centre will be closed to visitors on June 5 and 6 for an official ceremony, but it will be open during the days before and after the anniversary.

[This story appears in the May 2019 edition of  WestJet Magazine.]