I had the pleasure of selling poppies for the Royal Canadina Legion on Nov. 3 the people were generous and very appreciated of the fact that my Comrade, Ralph Purnell and I were veterans of the Second World War and had voluntarily risked our lives, in the hopes of defeating Adolph Hitler and his henchmen.
Much to our surprise and pleasure, one attractive young lady insisted giving us a hug to show her appreciation, we obliged of course. She made our day, to think she would hug two old fogies, 90 and 91 years old.
When my wife picked me up about 4 p.m. we decided to go have an early dinner as we had missed our lunch. We went to our favourite restaurant and enjoyed a full dinner. When we asked the waitress for our bill, she advised us the couple across from us, told her they wished to pay our bill. Much to our surprise they were total strangers. The fact I was still wearing my Legion uniform, medals and all made it quite obvious I was a veteran, and it was their wish to thank a veteran for making the world a better place.
I don’t consider myself a hero. I was just a private soldier doing his duty, the heroes are our comrades who were not so fortunate as I and now rest in foreign lands.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith of Kitimat, I thank you for all the veterans fortunate enough to be able to say we appreciate your thanks.
It is a bit ironic, I think is the word, that I spent 9 months as a prisoner of war in Germany. I am frequently asked if we were tortured. My reply was always no. However, over the years I now say maybe. I was hungry for the entire 9 months, especially when we had to work each day clearing bombing debris, mostly on an empty stomach, and that is a kind of a slow torture.
To this day, I never scrape edible food in the garbage, and I tell my nine grandchildren and one great grandchild when we dine together, to eat as much as you like, but, don’t put more on your plate than you can eat.
The memories of not enough to eat, never goes away.
Once again, thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Smith from Kitimat. It was a very nice surprise.