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Barrie marks 80th anniversary of D-Day with parade and ceremony

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Hundreds of people attended a parade Thursday in downtown Barrie, marking the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

"I was glad those men and those women served for the freedom I have today," said Barrie resident Mark McCutcheon.

Nearly 160,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. More than 4,400 of them died, including almost 400 Canadians, and around 600 more were wounded or captured.

More than 14,000 Canadians landed on Juno Beach.

Bill Snow attended the ceremony at Barrie's cenotaph with his grandson. The 102-year-old spent 10 months in England as a driver and training officer.

"There's been peace for this long; we must have done a good job," Snow said. "I am in my 102nd year, and I'm delighted to be able to come here today and celebrate with all the people here."

Bill Snow, 102, attends a ceremony at the cenotaph in downtown Barrie, Ont., on Thurs., June 6, 2024, to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. (CTV News/Rob Cooper)

Students joined their teachers for an out-of-class history lesson, while others took a few hours off work to take in the ceremony.

"I come here from Afghanistan, you know, we always are in a war, and I am so happy that I came to this country as an immigrant and what this country has given me for opportunities, this country is a wonderful country," said Barrie resident Nasar Nader.

A ceremony was held at the cenotaph in downtown Barrie, Ont., on Thurs., June 6, 2024, to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day. (CTV News/Rob Cooper)

Royal Canadian Air Force Association 441 (Huronia) Wing member Bill Sergeant read Flanders Fields to the crowd, and marvelled at the number of people who chose to attend.

"So many people out here, paying tribute to those that sacrificed their lives 80 years ago on Juno beach," he said. "We had representatives from the Armed Forces, from veterans groups, we had school children here, we had a number of citizens whose family who actually fought on D-Day."

The Grey and Simcoe Foresters will conduct a special Sunset Ceremony at 8 p.m., which will include a march from the Barrie Armoury to Military Heritage Park along the waterfront.

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