Saskatchewan World War II veteran honoured at statue unveiling Saturday

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Sask. World War II veteran honoured at statue unveiling Saturday
WATCH: Almost 80 years ago, Canadian soldiers stormed Juno Beach during World War II. In Regina, a new statue was unveiled as one of the soldiers was honoured for his service. Moosa Imran explains. – Apr 7, 2024

A 104-year-old Saskatchewan World War II veteran was presented with the French Legion of Honour medal on Saturday for his contribution in the liberation of France.

Canadian veteran Nick Kazuska said he spent eight days in Normandy before he was sent back to England.

“The war was the first job I took,” said Kazuska.

After, he returned to his home in Saskatchewan where he was a farmer.

“My family was back here in Canada,” he said.

The badge of the Regina Rifle Regiment. Moosa Imran / Global News

Historian Kelsey Lonie with the Royal Regina Rifles Trust Committee said the medal has been awarded to almost 1,200 veterans across the nation, 92 of whom are from Saskatchewan.

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An eight-foot bronze statue commissioned by the Royal Regina Rifles was also unveiled on Saturday to mark their 80th anniversary and role in WWII, D-day in particular.

Kazuska said the statue is “outstanding.”

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The statue was in Regina on Saturday for a public commemoration outside of the Legislative Building before being shipped to France as a gift to the city of Bretteville-Sur-Mer to mark the alliance between France and Canada.

Lieutenant-colonel Ed Staniowski, a retired member of the Canadian Armed Forces Royal Regina Rifles said he felt an immense sense of pride watching the statue being unveiled.

“My parents immigrated after the war from Europe. Both my mother and my father fought in the second World War — my mother was a nurse actually and my father was in the infantry,” he said.

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He called it a thrill to see the legacy of the regiment continuing.

Sculptor Don Begg said he tried to put the emotions of fear and determination into the face of the statue he created.

Moosa Imran / Global News

“When you make something in bronze, it is going to last for thousands of years after we are long gone so you always try to do your best because you won’t be around to make excuses” Begg joked.

He said he hopes people will recognize the men and women who fought for their country and that most volunteered for their nation.

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