Like Vimy Ridge, Juno Beach came at a great cost to Canadian forces.
While I was able to create a life and family for myself here in Canada and put the anger and pain behind me, my past never left me. In my final goodbye to my father in Auschwitz, he had told me to survive so that I could tell the story of my family. This always stayed with me in the back of my mind.
Liz Pearl/Her Magazine
It was one of the more surprising discoveries of my research for Dispatches from the Front: Matthew Halton, Canada's Voice at War. Sifting through piles of letters and memorabilia, I came across a crumpled photo of my father with the Royal Family on the grounds of Windsor Castle.
All at once the juxtaposed impact of camp crashed down on me like a giant wave. My parents' camp, my camp, my kids' camp, my MOL kids' camp. Now this. The barrack at Birkenau concentration/extermination camp is a stark reminder. A picture in my mind I will not soon forget.
As the last of the Canadian solders return from Afghanistan, personal stories from another war combined recently. This is a story about war, and certain Canadians who fought in World War II.
Thanks to dispatches, official reports sent to high command often describing battles and noting acts of bravery, we have a good record of what happened to Canada's 7th Brigade as they landed on Juno.
When the Second World War broke out, I was a young child living in London, England. My older sister and I were lucky to be offered shelter in a little old farm house for the duration of the war. I often looked back to these years on the Andrews' farm with fondness and gratitude -- especially because that's where I gained my deep appreciation for fresh, healthy food.
As they grew old, and faced their deaths, most of what had happened in the decades since their war seemed to recede, fade, lose shape and colour -- and the hard kernels of dastardly memory grounded in those intense weeks and months in Europe was all that remained.