Canada in cash boost forNormandy veterans' celebrations

13th May 2004, Comments 0 comments

OTTAWA, May 12 (AFP) - The government said Wednesday it would finance part of the cost of sending between 1,200 and 1,500 Canadian veterans to Normandy to take part in 60th anniversary celebrations of the D-Day landings.

OTTAWA, May 12 (AFP) - The government said Wednesday it would finance part of the cost of sending between 1,200 and 1,500 Canadian veterans to Normandy to take part in 60th anniversary celebrations of the D-Day landings.

The announcement came after the opposition complained over the earlier decision to send only 60 former combatants to the official ceremony on June 6 at Arromanches, while the government delegation comprised more than 70 people.

Many of the veterans' embittered response to the decision left the government little choice but to respond, said Veterans Affairs Minister John McCallum.

There has been "somewhat of an outcry from the veteran community and the public at large," said McCallum.

But "the government listened and the government acted," releasing CAD 3 million (USD 2.1 million) for expenses, he said.

Each veteran who wants to go to Normandy will receive CAD 1,000 (USD 720) toward the cost.

"Many of these veterans will be going for the last time," said McCallum, noting their average age was now 82.

The same measures will apply to those who wish to go in October to celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the campaign in Italy.

Some 500 Canadian veterans had resigned themselves to paying for their trip out of their own pockets.

Of the more than 14,000 Canadians who disembarked on Juno Beach on June 6, 1944, 359 were killed the same day.

The Normandy campaign claimed 5,500 Canadian lives, with a total of 18,000 Canadian casualties.

Canada lost 40,000 troops throughout World War II.

©AFP

Subject: French news

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