Prime Minister Stephen Harper has issued the following statement -
“On September 10th, 1939, nine days after Germany invaded Poland, Canada made its first declaration of war as a sovereign country.
“Though still recovering from the hardship and sacrifices wrought by the First World War and the Great Depression, Canada did not hesitate to stand up for what was right.
“The Canadian contribution to the war effort was remarkable. From a population of just 11 million, over one million Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in military uniform between 1939 and 1945. By war’s end, our country possessed the fourth-largest air force and the third-largest naval surface fleet in the world.
“In the air, on land and at sea, those young Canadians served with honour and integrity, both at home and abroad. Their resolve and clarity of purpose was evident in hostile skies, on the shores of Dieppe and Normandy, in the mountains of Italy, on the frigid North Atlantic waters, and in the searing Hong Kong sun. From Europe to the Far East, they stood strong, supported by the loved ones they left behind and millions of Canadians diligently working on the home front. Freedom was won, but at a tremendous cost, with more than 45,000 Canadians giving their lives and another 55,000 wounded.
“Though decades have passed, the effects of the Second World War are still felt in Canada. The courage and sacrifice of those who served must be honoured through meaningful remembrance.
“Today, as we mark the 75th anniversary of Canada’s engagement in the Second World War, I ask all Canadians to take time to think about the enormous contributions our Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces members have made to the country we enjoy today.
“Lest we forget.”