Today is Remembrance Day, a time for remembering those who fought for freedom throughout the world for learning about them.
Since we are of Dutch descent, our family focuses on thanking the Canadian soldiers who freed my parents, my in-laws and the rest of the Dutch people. These veterans are getting older every year, but we did meet some of them at a local Veteran’s Appreciation Day. It was a very special time for us, and my girls learned so much.
One old veteran laboriously signed his book, For Love and Country: A Canadian Soldier’s Story, for us. He had helped to free the northern parts of the Netherlands, where my in-laws lived, but now he was in a wheelchair and suffered from arthritis.
An air force veteran proudly showed us the plans of his fifth Spitfire. He and his buddies had, obviously, been through a lot to make it to Spitfire number 5.
An enthusiastic 90-year-old civilian told us about her work at top secret Camp X and showed the medal she recently received in recognition of her war work, though she was not part of the military. We will be reading more about Camp X’s fascinating history. This woman had apparently also seen Roald Dahl who was commissioned to report on the camp, but she paid very little attention to ‘that man in the corner’ because she had just become engaged and had no eyes for anyone but her fiancé.
We also spoke to UN police, Korean vets, support personnel, pilots, merchant navy sailors, and so many others. My girls were able to talk with these heroic men and women, listen to their stories, and encourage them by their interest. And these dear people were able to inspire and educate us. The girls learned so much more than they would have from a history textbook!
May we never need to be heroes as they were…but if we are called to it, may we serve as well as they did.