A handful of surviving veterans from D-Day and the battles in Normandy returned to the stretch of coastline now known as Juno Beach to mark the 75th anniversary of the Canadian landing.

It was a turning point in the Second World War and 359 Canadians would lose their lives that day.

A now 95-year-old Joseph Edwardson couldn't hold back the tears, saying it was hard to think about those who did not live to see the next day.

Joining the returning veterans were thousands of Canadians representing various ages and communities, united in honouring the bravery and sacrifice of the soldiers who left their homes and found themselves in Europe fighting against tyranny.

In his address, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau underscored the unity of purpose that brought together Canadians from coast to coast to coast on D-Day, as well as the example their actions during that bloody day set for future generations.

Trudeau says they inspired countless young men and women to answer the call of duty like they once did and they showed us the true meaning of honour.

France's Prime Minister Edouarde Philippe said D-Day strengthened the enduring friendship between Canada and France, which continues to this day in the face of contemporary challenges such as I-SIL and climate change.

Trudeau and Philippe along with Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and dignitaries from more than a dozen other countries paid tribute to the veterans during an international ceremony later in the day.