2019 Legion Nationals medal: Marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day: June 6, 1944
The medals for this year’s championships feature silhouettes that pay tribute to a battle waged by sea, land and air. Designed by Karen Taylor-Lopez, the images memorialize all those whose sacrifice contributed to a decisive Second World War victory, and the ultimate defeat of Nazi Germany.
In military battle, the goal is to hide from the enemy any specific information about the timing of an upcoming attack, and military planners have long referred to their target date as simply “D-Day.” Today, it is most associated with the beginning of the Allied campaign in Normandy when around 150,000 Allied troops stormed five strongly fortified beaches in France.
More than 14,000 Canadian soldiers went ashore on Juno Beach. Fifteen Royal Canadian Air Force fighter and fighter-bomber squadrons and 10,000 Royal Canadian Navy sailors onboard 110 warships also took part in the top-secret assault that secured a critical bridgehead for the allied invasion.
Many brave young Canadians died on that pivotal Tuesday and are among those resting in the Beny-sur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery located a few miles from Juno Beach, on land given to Canada by the people of France. The more than 2,000 graves there belong to 3rd Canadian Division soldiers and 15 Canadian pilots. As we commemorate D-Day this year, we remember them and all who continued the fight to liberate Normandy.
The final images selected by Taylor-Lopez to feature on the medals are based on visuals collated by the Department of National Defence and Library and Archives Canada. She wanted to ensure that all images used were truly Canadian. “The photos were inspiring,” she says, adding that they also gave her insight into what was happening during that period.