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New Brunswick D-Day veteran to get Legion of Honour from France on Saturday
FREDERICTON -- June 6 is an important date in the history of Canada and the world.
It's the date in 1944 on which thousands of Canadians, including hundreds of Maritimers, distinguished themselves on the beaches of Normandy.
Most of those veterans have now passed away, but even during a pandemic, one community is planning a commemoration, and a special nod to a surviving Second World War vet.
Edmund Martin was one of many young Maritimers who stormed the beaches of Normandy 76 years ago.
"He started his military career in World War II as part of the Carleton and York Regiment and that is an antecedent regiment of today's New Brunswick Regiment," said regimental historian Capt. David Hughes.
Martin was born in January 1925 in Crombie Settlement, N.B. He enlisted in 1942 and was among those who landed on Juno Beach in Normandy in June 1944.
That bravery is being honoured this weekend in Fredericton.
"He's going to be presented with the French Legion of Honour by the consul general," said organizer Brian MacDonald.
It's the highest honour France gives for military merit.
"It's a medal presented by the French government to allied soldiers that helped participate in the liberation of France, and it's important that we as Canadians honour our veterans when other countries are honouring them."
The presentation is being made at a physically distanced D-Day commemoration ceremony happening in Officer's Square.
Although the event itself is by invitation only, the public is encouraged by take part by participating in a roll-past.
"There is a private part to the ceremony, we can't have everyone there," MacDonald said. "But we can have everyone in their cars and we encourage people to do that and celebrate that way."
The event will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday.