D Day Service Reflects on 80th Anniversary | Castle Point News

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D Day Service Reflects on 80th Anniversary

At 11am earlier today, the Mayor of Castle Point Borough Council, Cllr Lynsey McCarthy-Calvert and The Mayor’s Chaplain, Interfaith Minister Revd. Tania Menegatti lead a short service marking the 80th Anniversary of the D Day landings.

After speeches were read, a commemorative flag was raised outside the Council offices in Kiln Road, Benfleet and a wreath was laid by a representative of The Royal British Legion.


Flag raise Wreath being laid


Joining representatives from The Royal British Legion in attendance:

  • Deputy Mayor, Cllr Barry Campagna
  • Leader of the Council, Cllr Dave Blackwell
  • Freeman of the Borough, Cllr Ray Howard
  • Chairman of Canvey Island Town Council, Cllr Peter May
  • Councillors from Castle Point Borough Council and Essex County Council
  • Chief Executive and staff from Castle Point Borough Council
  • Members of the public




Mayor of Castle Point Borough Council, Cllr Lynsey McCarthy Calvert

Today we commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France - an incredible achievement in military planning and logistics uniting brave service personnel from air, sea and land forces at the beginning of Operation Overlord.

By the day's end, over one hundred and fifty thousand Allied troops had successfully stormed the now famous Gold, Juno, Sword, Utah and Omaha beaches to achieve a toehold in France. In the weeks that followed, the Allies fought bitterly against a determined foe from the unforgiving countryside of Normandy to the liberation of Paris two months later.

We should all remember and never forget the selfless sacrifice and courage of all those involved and use this Commemoration to pay our tribute to those who gave so much to secure the freedom we all enjoy today.



Rev. Tania Menegatti

We gather here today to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day, a pivotal moment in history that forever changed the course of our world.

On this day, we honour the courage, sacrifice, and enduring spirit of the soldiers who stormed the beaches of Normandy. Their courage in the face of insurmountable odds is a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

D-Day was not just a military operation; it was a collective effort of nations and peoples of different backgrounds, united by a common goal of defeating tyranny and restoring peace. It is crucial that we commemorate this day, but how can we truly grasp the magnitude of this event and the colossal efforts made 80 years ago?

Firstly, we must remember that the way to appreciate D-Day's importance is to contemplate what would have happened if it had failed. The Atlantic Wall would have been strengthened, England would have been subjected to newly developed bombs and rockets, jet aircraft and weapons; the killing campaign against those targeted for their ethnicity, sexuality, or other personal characteristics would have continued. We would not know the freedoms we have today.

Secondly, we need to take this opportunity to pause and reflect on giving thanks and honouring the memory of those who gave their lives to defend our democratic freedoms. The service and sacrifice of our Armed Forces community. Those who have served our country or continue to serve; to defend and protect our democratic freedoms and way of life.

Thirdly, we must acknowledge that the roads to freedom were opened with hard-fought battles across the globe in a conflict where the Allied nations came together in unprecedented collaboration. Britain was not alone.

D-Day forces included sailors, soldiers, and airmen from no less than 13 countries. Together, and united we were stronger.

Fourthly, the best way to honour those who served is to work for peace now. While we may not have the power to stop wars raging across the globe, we do have the capacity to make a difference, in our daily lives, by working towards peace within our own minds, homes, workplaces, neighborhoods, and communities. We can be sources of compassion and understanding, recognising that each of us navigates our own struggles, fears, and uncertainties.

Indeed, as Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, peace activist, prolific author, and teacher, reminds us:

"We live in a time when meditation is no longer just an individual practice. We have to practice together as a community, as a nation, as a planet. If we really want peace to be possible, then we should try to look at reality in such a way that there is no separation."

Together and united, we are always stronger.



Mayor of Castle Point Borough Council, Cllr Lynsey McCarthy-Calvert

Let us remember those who gave their lives at home and abroad during the D-Day landings, whose sacrifice enables us all to enjoy the peace and freedom we have today.

Let us remember those who came home wounded, physically and mentally, and the friends and family who cared for them.

Let us remember those who returned to restore their relationships and rebuild their working lives after years of conflict and turmoil.

Let us remember the families that lost husbands, wives, sons, daughters and sweethearts.

Let us remember the servicemen and women and merchant seafarers of all nationalities - from all countries - who fought, suffered and died during the D-Day landings and six years of war.

Let us all remember those in the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force, Merchant Navy, and our Allies - the brave people who kept us safe on the home front and abroad and those in reserved occupations during the difficult time of war.

Let us remember the brave doctors and nurses who cared for the wounded, the men and women who toiled in the fields, the coal mines, the factories and the air raid wardens, police officers, firemen, ambulance drivers and the young people of the Scouts and Guides who all played such a vital role in the war.


Rev. Tania Menegatti

Finally, I leave you with a prayer by George Macleod, a reminder of our inner potential for compassion and change:

Prayer of Awareness

Awake, O my soul,

To the compassion of the divine deep within you.

Awake to its sacred flow of feeling and its strong currents for change.

Be true to it yourself. Set it free in others.

Awake, O my soul,

To the compassion of the divine deep within you.

Awake, O my soul. Awake.

As we conclude this ceremony, may the memories of those who fought on D-Day inspire us to build a world of peace, freedom, and unity. Let us carry with us the lessons of D-Day: the power of unity, the importance of courage, and the enduring pursuit of peace. May we be worthy of the sacrifices made and strive to create a world where such sacrifices are no longer necessary.

Thank you, and may peace be upon you all.


Royal British Legion members

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