Mr. Speaker, I rise today in memory of a great Canadian from my riding of Pickering—Scarborough East who passed away this past weekend. A veteran of the Second World War, Mr. Jan de Vries, an Order of Canada recipient, served with the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion. He parachuted into Normandy on D-Day and later parachuted over the Rhine River into Germany in 1945.
As a founding member of the Living History Speakers Bureau and as a member of the Memory Project, he has kept alive the stories of Canadian veterans by visiting schools, youth groups and cadet units.
The 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion Association, the Juno Beach Centre Association and the Corporal Fred Topham Victoria Cross Fundraising campaign have all benefited from his determination and leadership. Under his leadership, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion Association installed memorial plaques in Europe to commemorate their battle areas.
In June 2004, Mr. de Vries was presented with the French Legion of Honour medal by President Jacques Chirac.
He was a distinguished soldier and an ardent keeper of the flame. Lest we forget.