My father was just a 19 year old Canadian kid from Alberta when he landed on the beaches of France in 1944. By the time the war ended, he had participated in the Liberation of Holland, he saw many of his friends die and he was wounded several times.
(I remember when I was a kid my mom showing me small pieces of shrapnel that were still coming out of my dad – over 20 years later!)
My father (David) passed away in 2005 and my sister Miriam wrote this story about him. I would like to share it with you:
“As I was looking through my dad’s war memorabilia today (I’m going to send a photo and his war record in for the Virtual Wall of Remembrance in Ottawa and do a bio for the South Alberta Regiments Veteran Assoc) I found one of his notes he used when he did school Remembrance Day ceremonies.
He recounted how he and Mom went to Holland and visited the Dutch family that had billeted Dad after the liberation of Holland. He said that Mom asked one of the women who was a teenager when Dad stayed with the family, “Why are you making such a fuss about David? You would think that he had liberated you all by himself.”
The woman grabbed Mom’s hands and said, “You will never understand the horror of living under enemy occupation when you never know when your father or brother might be picked up and shipped off to Germany and used as forced labour, and every day you dreaded seeing these German soldiers with their rough voices and their rough ways. And suddenly one day hearing the Canadian guns getting closer and closer and then having the soldiers arrive with their friendly smiles and cheerful faces. It was indescribable.”
Let’s never forget what our soldiers did for this country and others. Go to a Remembrance Day ceremony, wear a poppy, shake the hand of a veteran … take a moment on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to thank them.”
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Peter, i was really touched by your entry about your father and the visit your parents made to Holland. It really hit me that your Dad was one of the Canadians that freed my little country from the hell of Hitler…. even though i wasn’t born yet…i grew up with the sentiments from my parents about this terrible injustice…
Thank you also for honoring your Dad is such a meaningful way….