'A little token of appreciation': Mint honours D-Day soldiers with $2 coin
A New Brunswick veteran who will turn 100 years old in October was presented on Monday with a new $2 coin commemorating the landing on D-Day.
Alphonse Vautour, who served in the 37 Brigade of the North Shore Regiment, was one of 14,000 Canadians who landed in Normandy, France on June 6, 1944.
The operation allowed Allied forces to establish a foothold on the continent that led to the liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany and the end of the Second World War.
With the 75th anniversary of D-Day less than two weeks away, a representative of the Royal Canadian Mint gave Vautour the coin during a ceremony at the garrison in Moncton, N.B.
The new toonie’s reverse side shows three soldiers peering over their landing craft, surrounded by engravings of ships and aircraft, and the words D-Day/Le Jour J. It was designed by artist Alan Daniel.
The mint’s Alex Reeves told the gathering in Moncton that the coin commemorates “one of the greatest moments in military and world history.”
Vautour says that he wasn’t afraid to go into battle that day. “I was at war,” he said. “It was time to go.”
Still, it’s an experience that has stayed with him for the past 75 years.
“It’s something you never forget,” he told CTV News Atlantic. “You go to bed at night and at 2, 3 o’clock in the morning you wake up, it’s on your mind.”
Lt.-Col. Renald Defour, who commands the 37 Brigade, called the coin a “little token of appreciation” that will circulate throughout the population.
“These guys, they’ve done so much for the country,” he said. “We need to do the right thing for them.”
Three million coins will be circulated. Two million of the coins will be coloured.