BARRIE, ONT. -- A small ceremony was held in Barrie Sunday to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day.

The event, which usually features a parade with a band, was scaled back due to crowding limits in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A small group featuring dignitaries and legion leaders was joined by World War II veteran William Snow.

"It means, now it means a lot to me, but at that time it was just a scary time for me or anyone else," 98-year-old Snow says to CTV News. "We knew where we were going, and we knew how we had tried; it wasn't the first time, we tried to land in Europe or across the channel, and we knew what happened to the people before us."

Snow admits he doesn't remember the exact timing of his arrival but says it was just days after June 6, 1944.

"It's a day that I can remember always, still very strong," says Snow. "I was telling someone a couple of days ago I would just sit idly below, and I'd think a lot, and I was thinking about a certain time, certain thing happened, and that still made me cry at that time."

The veteran says despite the hardship, he has never regretted his service to his country. He was amongst the first troops to return home in Halifax and remembers that moment fondly.

"That was something that I will never forget. It wasn't all bad, is what I'm trying to say. We had the bad, but then we had the good," says Snow. "Coming back home when you didn't know if you would come or not and lots of times you thought you wouldn't. When you did get back, it was really something, quite the experience."

Barrie's local legion leaders say acknowledging the anniversary is more important now than ever, so our youngest generations don't forget the sacrifice many made.

"What they have today is because of what happened back then," says Fern Taillefer, a veteran services officer. "Everything that they have, their freedom is because of our soldiers who gave them that freedom and a lot of them paid the ultimate sacrifice for it. They need to know it wasn't free. It was earned by the soldiers back then."