INTERVIEW WITH 94-YEAR-OLD VETERAN MARKS 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF V-E DAY

Burlington, Ontario, CANADA


TORONTO, April 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

Canadian veteran Norm Kirby is acknowledged by the crowd at the Juno Beach Centre on June 6, 2019, the official Canadian ceremony for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

JUNO BEACH CENTRE RELEASES NEW INTERVIEW WITH 94-YEAR-OLD VETERAN TO MARK 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF V-E DAY

NORM KIRBY HELPED LIBERATE THE NETHERLANDS IN 1945

The Juno Beach Centre (JBC) today released a new video interview with Second World War veteran Sergeant (Retired) Norm Kirby to mark the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day) and the Liberation of the Netherlands. Mr. Kirby, who is now 94, was a young man with the North Shore (New Brunswick) Regiment during the war, landing at Juno Beach in Normandy on D-Day, and liberating people throughout France and the Netherlands.

In the newly-released interview, Mr. Kirby details his experience during the final weeks and months of the war. The video was filmed this past March as part of the Juno Beach Centre’s Legacy of Honour initiative to capture testimonies from Canada’s remaining Second World War veterans.

“Every day there are fewer and fewer veterans, and those who are still with us are in their nineties,” said Honorary Lieutenant Colonel Don Foster, JBC board member and the driving force behind the Legacy of Honour project. “These men and women have stories to tell that are still relevant and important today. We are giving veterans the opportunity to share the lessons they learned, so what they endured is not lost to new generations. It really is a now or never circumstance, which is why the Legacy of Honour initiative was launched by the Juno Beach Centre.”

“I feel privileged to be in a position to talk about my experience. My grandfather was a veteran, so growing up I heard the stories,” said Mr. Kirby. “Hearing them taught me about life, about the world. It’s important for younger generations to understand what came before them so they can understand the present.”

The JBC has been raising funds to facilitate the recording of the stories of aging veterans located across the country. Over time, relationships have formed between Foster, his film crew, and the 17 Legacy of Honour veterans interviewed to date and their families.

“It’s a very real connection we build as the veterans talk to us about their life-changing experiences,” said Foster, whose own father was a veteran. “We have a duty to ask them how they want us to remember them, how they want us to carry on their legacy, and that is what we are doing at the Juno Beach Centre.”

For Mr. Kirby, some of his most cherished memories involve the citizens he encountered during the Liberation of the Netherlands.

“The Dutch were so brave,” Kirby said. “Even if it meant putting their lives in danger to help us. We’d been through the horrors of Normandy. Into Belgium and the Scheldt Estuary. It was bad. We got to Holland and into Groningen, and we chased the Germans out. All of a sudden out of the blue came little kids, out into the streets, with banners and paper hats in the Dutch colours, and all laughing. I’m standing there with them all around me, pistol at my side, and I just thought, wow, this is what it’s all about. This is what I’m here for.”

As Canada’s Second World War museum on the beaches of Normandy, the Juno Beach Centre is proud to honour the courage of all men and women who served at home and abroad during the Second World War on this historic anniversary.

Mr. Kirby’s interview can be found at Victory75.ca along with the JBC’s specially curated content dedicated to marking the 75th anniversary of V-E Day and the Liberation of the Netherlands:

  • The JBC’s special online anniversary exhibition Maple Leaves and Tulips: Then and Now. It details the shared past between Canada and the Netherlands, and how the friendship bond between our two nations has flourished in the post-war years.
  • Our partners, Defining Moments Canada and Project 44, along with the Canadian War Museum are hosting a webinar on May 5th at noon (English only). The Canadian War Museum’s Dr. Tim Cook will join DMC’s Dr. Mike Bechtold, along with JBC’s team to discuss these important legacies in our lives today.
  • Podcast with veteran Don White, who recounts his V-E Day experiences.

    Anyone wishing to contribute the Juno Beach Centre’s efforts to preserve the stories of Canada’s remaining Second World War veterans is invited, with gratitude, to visit our donor page.

About
A Place Of Remembrance And Discovery Of Canada The Juno Beach Centre, which opened in Courseulles-sur-Mer on the 6th of June 2003, presents the war effort made by all Canadians, civilian and military alike, both at home and on the various fronts during the Second World War, as well as the manifold faces of contemporary Canadian society. Lieu de souvenir et de découverte Le Centre Juno Beach, qui a ouvert ses portes à Courseulles-sur-Mer le 6 juin 2003, présente les efforts de guerre des Canadiens, civils et militaires, au Canada et sur les multiples fronts, durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, et met aussi en vedette les différents visages de la société canadienne actuelle.

Kate Carlson
Media & Communications
Juno Beach Centre Association
905-466-4500
katecarlson@junobeach.org