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Royal Regina Rifles help recognize 79th anniversary of D-Day

It’s been 79 years since the war effort known as 'D-Day,' which eventually led to the liberation of western Europe during World War II. The day was marked with a service in Normandy with the Royal Regina Rifles on hand.

D-Day remains the largest combined land, sea and air invasion ever attempted and the effort is often credited with turning the tide of the Second World War.

Out of Canada's 1,096 total causalities on D-Day, the Regina Rifles sustained 102.

Lt.-Col (retired) Ed Staniowski spoke with CTV Morning Live from what was once a German bunker near Juno Beach.

“It’s pretty special to be here and I had a chance to be here with some of the veterans who sadly have since passed away, as you know it’s been 79 years, but a special statue will be erected for them next year on the 80th anniversary which will be a very big event,” Staniowski said.

Having served in the military himself, Staniowski said it always tugs on his heartstrings to visit the historic site.

“I think of the sacrifice that those young men from Saskatchewan and all across Canada made when they landed here on Juno Beach to liberate France and onto Belgium and then onto the Netherlands,” he said.

Staniowski said hearing the continued appreciation from current day residents of Normandy, Belgium and other parts of Europe always resonates with him.

“These are wonderful people in Normandy and in Belgium and in Holland and it really resonates with those of us here from Canada and get to hear stories first hand.”

In Regina, a ceremony was held in front of city hall to commemorate one of the most important days in the history of the Rifles.

A display of courage and heroism that still inspires members of the Rifles, nearly 80 years later.

“The soldiers of the Regina Rifle Regiment, as it was known then, good old farm boys from across Saskatchewan, known as the Farmer Johns, knew how to pick up that fight, and assault those beaches and fight inland further than any of the other Allied forces that day,” Lt.-Col Kyle Clapperton, commanding officer of the Royal Regina Rifles, said in his speech.

Anyone who wishes to donate to 'Operation Calvados' the Rifles' effort to erect a statue on Juno Beach for the 80th anniversary of the landings, can find the fundraiser here.

German prisoners taken by Canadian troops at Juno Beach, D-Day, during the invasion of Europe, on June 6, 1944. THE CANADIAN PRESS/National Archives of Canada, Frank L. Dubervill, PA-133754. Top Stories

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