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‘We will never forget Canadians’ — Veteran stories from the archives

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Author, photojournalist and former Calgary Herald journalist David Bly wrote the following historical piece from the Netherlands in May 2005 to mark the 60th anniversary of VE-Day. Many of the veterans interviewed for this piece have since passed away, but their stories remain an important part of our history, worth remembering not just on anniversaries, but every day of the year. increase.

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The Dutch gladly pay tribute to our veterans: Thousands of people finally join the parade and thank their liberators

David Bly

It was the last hustle and bustle. A crowd of 200,000 spectators lined his route for more than three hours in the Dutch city on Sunday to thank Canada’s veterans.

And to say a final goodbye to the Liberators of VE-Day.

There will be more visits to the Netherlands by Canadian veterans. The country continues to mark its liberation by Canadian forces from 1944 to her 45th year. However, the Dutch government has decided to change the way it commemorates liberation and the end of the war in Europe, scrapping the five-yearly national celebration in which Canadian veterans played a major role.

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Political decisions aside, reality dictates that celebrations change. Five years from now he will have far fewer WWII veterans and the average age of surviving veterans will be closer to his 90.

The 60th anniversary of the liberation of Europe and the end of the war was a big party for over a week.

And Warren Comeau, 81, of St. John, New Jersey, said he was glad he was there as he prepared to march in the parade.

a former military doctor tricked From the celebrations when the war ended 60 years ago.

I was in Germany somewhere north of Oldenburg when I heard the war was over.” He said. “I heard all the news about how they were celebrating in London and New York.

Even in Holland, Canadian soldiers were fussing with the help of booze.”liberated” in France and with enthusiastic support in the Netherlands.

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I didn’t even have a drop of drink.Como said. “And the Germans were brooding and long-faced.

Sixty years later, he’s celebrating. Wherever he and his son Warren Jr. go, they find many companions in celebration.

Sadlycan only drink about two glasses of beer,said Warren Sr.I have problem Enough walking without beer.

But that didn’t stop him from singing wartime songs and dancing in Apeldoorn’s pubs until late Saturday night.

A joyful festival, good medicine. His war experience left many scars.

I still have nightmares today” He said. “I wake up in a cold sweat.

The face you see in your dreams is young, too young.

I’d like Love To find out the actual age of some Regina rifles I’ve seen,” He said. “Some must have been sixteen, seventeen, or fifteen.

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Many people lied about their age to participate, he said.

the government thinks i’m a year older than i am” He said. “I joined at 17.

Comeau got to know the face of death when the wounded were brought in for first aid.

They are terrible gray color,” He said.

When you saw that gray, you knew you had a real emergency on your hands.

Many died from shock as much as from wounds, he said.

“They told us, ‘Keep it warm, keep it warm,’ but it wasn’t always possible.

“They were cold and muddy and wet from the waist down. They were walking in the water with rifles over their heads.

Why did they send men to fight in such circumstances?

He said he was always haunted by the possibility that more lives could have been saved.

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I’m filled with guilt today” He said. “Could we have done more?

That feeling made him hesitant to visit the war cemetery prior to this trip.

I went to visit the grave this time,‘ He said, ‘I walked up and down the line, looking at their ages and seeing all the young faces again.

I cried a lot without being shy. But I’m glad I came.

John Forsythe of Grande Cache, Alabama, was another young soldier who misrepresented his age.

Forsyth, who turns 81 in August, was born in Medicine Hat and first wore a Seaforth Highlanders kilt at age 14. he was 21 years old.

This was one of those places.” he said, looking around the main square of Apeldoorn.drop your bike here” means he crashed his motorcycle.

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This is the first time I have returned to the site of my war experience. He came to Holland with his son Jeff his Forsyth. Forsyth was originally from Calgary, William. He was a student at Aberhart High School and now lives in Lake, Nevada. He is a builder in Tahoe.

My father never talked about war.‘ said Jeff. “This trip brought back memories, and now the stories are overflowing.”

Sandra Rever, 34, a human resources specialist at Agrium in Calgary, read an early Herald article about the Liberation Celebration and made an immediate decision to come to Holland.

She has a keen interest in World War II history, but it’s not something she learned in school.

I never saw a single veterinarian when I was in school in the 70’s and 80’s.“She said.”upon Memory Daywe painted poppies and chanted endlessly in the fields of Flanders, but it meant nothing.

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she attended the ceremony Memory At the Horten Canadian War CemeteryI was surrounded by more veterans than I have ever seen in my life.

Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, May 8, 2005: Calgary's Art Grenier rides a restored wartime vehicle at the Veterans Parade in Apeldoorn. Grenier wears his PPCLI uniform under a windbreaker. David Bly's photo.
Apeldoorn, The Netherlands, May 8, 2005: Calgary’s Art Grenier rides a restored wartime vehicle at the Veterans Parade in Apeldoorn. Grenier wears his PPCLI uniform under a windbreaker. David Bly’s photo. Photo by David Bly /CALs

River was urged to come.

“I’m here to show, honor and appreciate the veterans that my generation remembers.

Kind of sad that I had to cross the ocean to do that.

In weather of alternating cold showers and showers, Welcome Hundreds of veterans, mostly Canadians, marched along the Apeldoorn parade route in the sunshine. Many people rode in restored wartime vehicles, compliment of a historic association called Keep Them Rolling. wave your hand, extend your hand, accept Flowers from people who ran into the street and kissed and shook hands.

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generously supplied to the parade outstanding Marching bands, old military vehicles were attractive, but the main attraction was Canadian veterans.Waves from Canadian Veterinarians We’re screwed To bring thunderous applause and cries.”Thank you thank you,” From people of all ages.

Princess Marguerite of the Netherlands, born in Canada, where the Dutch royal family took refuge during the war, and Canadian Governor-General Adrian Clarkson saluted, but they were mostly ignored Paid to veterans in honor.

Unfortunately, they don’t do this to their home veterans.said Berna Moss of Bassano in Alta, who came to see the celebration with her husband Ed. “Maybe it’s because we don’t appreciate us freedom.

Never again will so many Dutch liberators walk the streets of Holland, but they will always be. Welcomesaid Bert Eberts of nearby Zutphen, who was filming the video. Dayrecord the event so that his children and grandchildren have a record of this historic event.

We will never forget Canadians.

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‘We will never forget Canadians’ — Veteran stories from the archives

Source link ‘We will never forget Canadians’ — Veteran stories from the archives

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