The D-Day commemoration ceremonies in Normandy were a "gut-wrenching" experience for Mayor Sam Katz.
Katz was part of the Manitoba delegation that went to France last week to mark the 70th anniversary of the Allied forces’ landing on the beaches of Normandy.
"It was gut-wrenching to see the ceremony and the services... to meet many of the veterans who landed on those beaches," Katz told reporters this morning following the executive policy committee meeting.
Katz’s office sponsored the placement of 16 tribute markers – made of Canadian maple and inscribed with a plaque naming the soldier and his regiment – on Juno beach to commemorate the 16 soldiers from Winnipeg killed in battle on June 6, 1944.
Katz said he laid three wreaths during the Friday ceremonies and talked to many veterans, the youngest of whom was 89 years old.
"It was very touching, a lifetime experience from my point of view."
Katz said the ceremonies had a deep personal connection for him, as both his parents were subsequently freed from concentration camps by the Allied forces that swept across western Europe.