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Saturday, May 07, 2005

I REMEMBER V-E DAY

SATURDAY.
Yesterday I was listening to CBC radio and they were playing things from their archives, dating back to V-E day, 60 years ago. It was an immediate flash-back for me, then an 11-year old, whos daddy was overseas serving as a Chaplain in a Field Hospital in Holland.

Every night, in those war year times, we'd sit by Grandpa's radio and listen to the BBC News. So yesterday, hearing Winston Churchill's speeches brought it all back.

One of the women in my Memoirs group is from Holland, and the town where they are celebratiing the liberation, is her town, so she has also been reliving those days when WW2 was coming to an end. She told how they had been hiding in a haystack when they learned that army jeeps and tanks were coming, thinking it was the Germans. Then her grandma ran out shouting "They're here! They're here!" and it was the Allied troops coming to liberate them.
Dad was in Holland at that time. He made friends with many Dutch people and kept in touch with them for a long time after he returned home. He brought us pieces of Delft china, and from the building where the armistice was signed in Antwerp, a pendulum clock wrapped in the big Nazi flag that had flown over the building. Inside the clock was a cache of pewter jewelry which my Mom kept for many years. My son has the clock now. The Nazi flag was made into a Santa Claus suit to be used at the Christmas celebrations for our Sunday School.

I remember V-E day mostly because there was a big parade in which all the children were invited to participate. I lived in Stratford Ontario then, at my Grandpa's house. Mom, my sister and I had a suite upstairs which Grandpa had built for us when Dad left for the War.
Grandma and Grandpa lived downstairs. The house was very old, over 100 years old when Grandpa bought it and fixed it up. I still have so many fond memories of living there.

I can't exactly remember which costume I chose to wear in the parade. I loved dress-ups and used to bug my mom relentlessly to make me costumes, which always had to be correct. She was a fine seamstress and willingly indulged my childhood fantasies. I might have just worn my Brownie tam and uniform that day. At any rate, it was a big parade with pipe bands and drum majors, and armed services personell as well as us kids. The whole town was celebrating because practically everyone had a dad, uncle, grandpa or brother serving overseas. V-E Day meant they could finally come home!

So all this week, listening to the commentaries, watching on TV the veterans who have returned to Holland for the big day recount their experiences, reviewing my own recollections of those war years, I have relived that particular time in my childhood too. Lest We Forget!

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