Thousands of Canadians gather at Juno Beach on 75th anniversary of D-Day

Thousands of Canadians are gathering across the country on a stretch of beach on the coast of Normandy in France this morning to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

It was on June 6, 1944, that 14,000 Canadian soldiers, men from across the country and all walks of life, stormed ashore under withering German fire to begin the long-awaited liberation of Europe from the Nazis.

Three-hundred-fifty-nine Canadians died on that day, while another 715 were wounded or captured.

But the carefully planned invasion was a success and would mark a turning point in the Second World War.

Two ceremonies are scheduled to be held on the eight-kilometre stretch of coastline now known as Juno Beach, where the Canadians faced Nazi mines, artillery and gunfire in a desperate bid to establish the beachhead.

Like the attack on the beach itself, the first ceremony will be all Canadian with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau scheduled to speak along with some of the surviving veterans who fought on the spot 75 years earlier.