8 May 2015

VE Day

On this day, 70 years ago, a great darkness was lifted from Europe. 

My father was there, and I have often shared his stories from the war.   Strangely, he had nothing to tell me of VE day, merely that he was there when it ended. 

The Canadians had formed a loose truce with the Germans in the Netherlands so they could get food to the starving Dutch people on both sides of the front.  The Dutch to this day remember and are grateful to the Canadians for their liberation.

The armies of the allies were made up of ordinary men who became citizen soldiers, Cincinnatus to a man, who rose from their job, and their family, went overseas, and returned home to their families and job to resume their lives.  Many didn't get a chance to carry on, and many couldn't carry on when given the chance.  To them our generation and generations to come owe a debt of gratitude that cannot and never shall be repaid, and yet almost every vet I know shrugs off an label of hero, and merely says that they were doing a job, doing what everyone else did, and that the real heroes were the ones who never made it back.

 They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

We shall remember them.,

In history, it was common to honour heroes with statues and tributes.  Their faces would be carved in stone and painted on canvas, remembered in poetry and song.  In our age we build statues of nothing, to nothing.  Our poetry is gibberish, our paintings splatters and our songs mere noise.  We have little art left to us to honour them.  And yet, it was not always so.  There are a few works made for these men.   .It was in honour of these citizen soldiers that Aaron Copeland composed his most famous work, The Fanfare for the Common Man,.

Always remember these men and what they have done for us.

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