To mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Jason Foreman and a team of Canadians cycled nearly 600 kilometres in six days in France. The group started May 30 on the beaches in Dieppe and arrived in Juno Beach on June 6 — marking the day of the Allied invasion of Normandy in 1944 during the Second World War.
“It’s very emotional seeing all the different graves, and resting places of all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Foreman said Friday from Ypres, Belgium.
The 47-year-old Courtenay resident is a retired military veteran who served 23 years in the army and completed seven tours of duty — two each in Afghanistan and Bosnia, and one in Macedonia, Haiti and the United Arab Emirates.
Former Vancouver Canucks forward Trevor Linden was among the group of about 130 cyclists in Battlefield Bike Ride 2019 — Operation Overlord. Participants are required to raise a minimum $4,000, which supports Wounded Warriors Canada programs and services for ill and injured veterans, first responders and their families. Foreman has raised $6,645 for the cause.
“We had a gentleman who landed on Juno Beach, 75 years ago,” Foreman said in reference to Russell Kaye, 94. Wounded Warriors paid his way to France. “His son was on the ride. It was emotional for him, and everybody actually.”
Foreman’s childhood friend Darcey O’Riordan, a deputy fire chief at the Burnaby Fire Department, was also part of the riding group.
“We’re trying to get first responders involved,” said Foreman, who had also participated in the 2018 ride in Sarajevo and up the Croatian coast.
“It was 25 years since the Medak Pocket battle, and we had quite a few gentlemen who were in that battle, 25 years ago. It’s where the Canadians were pinned down by the Croatians — but they didn’t get any of us.”