It’s one of the most historic days in the Second World War and one project is helping to symbolically bring home Saskatchewan-born soldiers who gave their lives and never made it back.
The Saskatchewan Remembrance Project saw photos of the graves of the 47 Saskatchewan soldiers who were killed on D-Day placed near the Second World War memorial in Regina. The 73rd anniversary of the event took place Tuesday.
“I think it’s very important that our generation takes it upon ourselves to document this history and make sure that we can learn lessons from it going forward,” said project creator Chris Harris.
Harris took the photos last year when he visited the three different cemeteries in Normandy where Saskatchewan soldiers were buried.
In 1945, the Canadian Forces started to bring back all the bodies of soldiers who died overseas. Harris said the goal is to document every single Sask. soldier who died and remains buried overseas.
“They went over there and they never came back. This is kind of a way of bringing them back and even though it’s largely symbolic, it is a way to show our appreciation of the sacrifice that they made.”
Harris said he’s not just telling the stories about the soldiers while they were in battle, but also their home lives and time before the war.
“Any untold story, any history that we can hang on to so that we can protect it and actually document it so that it doesn’t die with the only ones who can tell us the firsthand accounts.”
He said the project has been well-received by people of all ages.
“I had a 91-year-old lady who shed a tear while she told me the story about how her brother died just days after the D-Day invasion.”
He said the next phase of the project will take him to Italy this summer where he is photographing the graves of the 246 Sask. soldiers who died during the liberation of Italy from 1943 to 1945.