This week I want to share with you a news release from Veteran Affairs Canada. Against the backdrop of all that is going on in the world today it is important to recognize the successful negotiations to secure the long-term protection of Juno Beach. It is also important to recognize and remember the fight for freedom and democracy and the lives given. We must never forget.
“On 6 June 1944, Canadians landed on Juno Beach as part of the D-Day invasion that marked a turning point for Allied forces during the Second World War. Since then, The Juno Beach Centre has become a place of remembrance and emotion for Veterans, their families, Canadians and French citizens.
A proposed condominium development on land adjacent to the site had posed a threat to both the integrity of Juno Beach itself and Juno Beach Centre operations. The issue has captured the hearts and minds of concerned citizens in Canada and France who have written tens of thousands of letters and emails calling for the site’s protection.
Last week, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Patricia Miralles, Secretary of State to the Minister for the Armed Forces, in charge of Veterans Affairs and Memory, and Anne-Marie Philippeaux, Mayor of Courseulles-sur-Mer, confirmed their collaboration and steadfast long-term commitment to protect the Juno Beach site in France.
The Canadian and French governments worked in close collaboration to find a positive solution. Contributions from the Canadian and French governments, the town of Courseulles-sur-Mer, the conseil régional de Normandie, the conseil départemental du Calvados, and the communauté de communes Cœur de Nacre will allow the preservation of the parcel of land identified for development. It will be re-united with two other parcels of land adjacent to form one site, and a 99-year lease will be negotiated. This investment secures the long-term protection of Juno Beach and the use of the site for commemorative purposes and supports the Juno Beach Centre’s work in honouring the achievements and sacrifices of those who fought for our freedom and democracy.”