June 6, 1944.

It's a date that most Canadians are familiar with. For some 14,000 brave Canadian soldiers, it's shrouded in gunfire, cold, heavy winds, loud military equipment, and the hope of peace in the middle of a war. This date is known as "D-Day", a pivotal moment that turned the tide in World War II. Over 156,000 soldiers from 6 different divisions of Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy. Over 5,000 Canadian soldiers had sacrificed their lives by the end of the campaign on August 21, 1944. 

That was exactly 80 years ago and the entire country is remembering the sacrifices that led to the freedom Canadians now enjoy. 

"Our freedom that we enjoy today is solely because of D-Day and because we won the war. The actions that the guys did in World War II have given us the quality of life and the lifestyle that we enjoy today. Moving forward, that's what the Canadian Forces is there to do for us. [It's] to maintain our freedom [and] maintain our quality of life as we choose to live it and not have somebody else interfere with that," expressed Captain Harold Whiteoak.

Captain Whiteoak is the administration officer of #2901 Estevan Elks, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry of the Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps. Alongside a team of volunteers, he helps army cadets train and hone their skills in various areas of expertise needed in the military. He shared that while remembrance of the event is important, Canadians shouldn't feel pressured to celebrate D-Day in a specific way. 

"Remembrance is an individual preference. People should do what they're comfortable with [and] what their heart tells them to do. There are going to be Canadians that have no interest in that event. Most Canadians are going to have family that may have been there, or knowing families that were there, or may have lost family there, so they're going to remember this in a whole different light. Everybody needs to remember it in their way, in their time." 

"I don't think there's any one thing that we can come out and say 'this is what we do'. If people want to wear a poppy on that day, I think that'd be very appropriate." -Captain Whiteoak on remembering D-Day.

World War II officially ended on May 8, 1945 in Europe and August 15, 1945 in the Pacific.