TORONTO - The creators of a new website detailing the final months of the Second World War say it will stand as a long-term memorial for soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
The interactive site shares the same name and material as the History Television series "D-Day to Victory," which traces key battles that Allied forces faced as they made their way through Europe.
Executive producer James Milward says the website includes 3D renderings of several engagements, 120 video interviews with veterans, and a forum for visitors to share their own memories. He expected it to remain active for "years and years and years."
"Really what this comes down to is providing a long-term memorial for these veterans in a really slick and exciting interface that can bring a whole new generation of people into this conflict," said Milward.
The site — ddaytovictory.ca — was launched Wednesday with a luncheon and screening for several veterans who took part in the online project and TV documentary series.
The six-part "D-Day to Victory" airs on History Television, with back-to-back episodes airing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Bruce Melanson, 89, said he remembers landing on Juno Beach like it was yesterday. He said it's important for future generations to know about the horrors he witnessed.
"The only thing is some of them days I don't want to remember," said Melanson, a gunner with the 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment.
"It's rather emotional, it's a little bit upsetting because I was there and I was in the second wave. And when I landed in Normandy on June the 6th, 1944, bodies were still in the water — dead bodies."
Bob Ross, 87, said he often thinks about the families who lost sons, husbands and fathers.
"I always think about the people that came around to my door after I got back wondering about their wives and husbands and children and whatnot and I always felt sorry for them," said Ross, who lost the lower part of his leg while serving with the 10th Canadian Infantry Brigade.
"I couldn't always tell them how they were killed because they wouldn't sleep nights for one thing but the thing is the loss for them was just awful.... They were so sad, just broken. And people don't understand that. I know we had it tough as soldiers but I always felt (for) the people that were left."
On the web: http://www.ddaytovictory.ca