On Remembrance Day, 2015, the people of our country will pause to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom. As I have for many years, I will play the piper’s Remembrance Day lament at a number of ceremonies, including the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. But at each one, I will remember the most influential veteran of World War II that I have ever known – my late father.
Like many men from the small Nova Scotia community where I was born, he joined the Canadian military in the early stages of the war and served his country as a Canadian Air Force sergeant and aerial navigator. He received
the Overseas Medal for serving on a base that provided escort duties for naval and merchant ships plying the dangerous waters of the North Atlantic, keeping supply lines open and bringing Canadian soldiers overseas and back home. At the end of the European campaign, he was scheduled to ship out to the Pacific war zone when the atomic bombs were dropped, and the war ended. He credits his mother’s prayers for keeping him on home soil. He now lies in our family cemetery plot overlooking ancestral land along the shores of Antigonish Harbour and among the gravestones of many other fellow veterans and colleagues of “the war”, a common expression when I was growing up. When I was a younger man, I remember the “old” vets were survivors of W.W.I. Now the last of the W.W.II vets are passing to their final reward. I will think of them also, their dedication to country during war time and the contribution they have made to this country during peace.