OTTAWA – The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of Operation Husky and the beginning of the Italian Campaign:
“Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Allied assault on Sicily—codenamed Operation Husky—which began on July 10, 1943.
“The German soldiers held the high ground and were dug into the rough and mountainous terrain of Sicily with many imposing defensive positions. Undaunted, the Canadians advanced, often fighting from mountain rock to mountain rock, eventually helping push the German forces into a retreat.
“As they fought for peace and freedom in Sicily, the Canadians suffered more than 2,300 casualties. Sadly, 562 of these courageous soldiers lost their lives.
“Canadians and their Allies displayed outstanding valour during Operation Husky, the campaign in the summer of 1943 to capture Sicily. Their victory on the Mediterranean island contributed to the fall of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini and to knocking Italy out of the war.
“In the decades since Operation Husky, the Italian Campaign and the end of the Second World War, millions of Canadians have benefited from the selfless efforts and sacrifices of Canada’s Veterans. The courage and valour shown by our armed forces, past and present, have helped Canada through the long and arduous road to the fragile peace we now enjoy. Their continued efforts, triumphs and struggles allow us to live the way we do today.
“To help commemorate this special anniversary, from July 10th to 31st, a group of Canadians and Canadian Armed Forces members are retracing the march through Sicily 320 kilometers from Pachino to Adrano. You can follow their walk on Facebook (@OperationHusky2018) and Twitter (@OpHusky2018).
“Lest We Forget.”