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Col. David Fairweather remembers VE Day, 70 years later

05/09/2015 01:58 EDT | Updated 05/09/2016 05:59 EDT
95-year-old West Vancouver veteran David Fairweather still remembers the cheers along the streets of Amsterdam as he and his regiment, the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada, marched into Amsterdam, Holland on Victory in Europe Day.

Now, 70 years later, his memories of that day are still vivid.

Canadian forces were instrumental in forcing the Nazis out of the Netherlands during World War II and Fairweather and his fellow Canadian soldiers were met with an incredible outpouring of emotion from Dutch citizens who celebrated them for their role in the liberation. 

"We entered Amsterdam on mid-morning on May the 8th and that's when the crowds were there by the thousands. The whole city turned out," he remembered.

"It was such a tremendous ovation that we got. Everything was just joyous. It made me very proud that we were able to do it and very sorry to see the state they were in. Things were very tough for them."

Even as he looks back all of these years later, Fairweather finds it hard to believe that seven decades have passed since that indelible day that has established a unique and lasting connection between Canada and The Netherlands.

"It seems like yesterday. It's hard to imagine it was 70 years ago that the war ended and we were all due home again," he said. 

Many Canadian veterans travelled to the Netherlands to celebrate the big anniversary, but Fairweather decided to stay at home with his wife of 67 years, Beverley. 

"I didn't wish to leave the love of my life on her own, she wasn't invited," he said with a chuckle. 

VE Day is remembered not only for the liberation of the Netherlands, but for the capitulation of the Nazis in a country they had occupied for five dark years.

To hear more about Colonel David Fairweather's story listen to Tricia Lo's story "West Vancouver Veteran Remembers VE Day" above.

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