I will be setting aside some time to watch the D-day memorial on TV and listen to our leaders and veterans give speeches in France. D-day is somewhat special here in Fort Langley, because we do have a living survivor who, when he was 17, was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for his country. Unfortunately, he will not attend because of his health. However, I did have the pleasure about 5 years ago, during the Remembrance Day celebrations, November 11, 1999 to hear him talk about that very day in France and the stories that he told about himself and his buddies that endured June 6th, Sixties years ago.
He had a charisma about him that only could be marked with someone who has seen an entire life time of experience. He was not like your typical veteran speaker who talked about “getting the job done” and “everyone knew what to do.” He spoke of hardship and not knowing what to expect, the uncertainty and knowing, that life and death was a matter of taking the wrong step. “We went over their to fight, because that is what men do” I remember him saying, “I went, not because everyone else went, but because I had a sense of duty, it was a honor. Not once did I ever think I would not make it back, we just worried about doing the best that we could.”
But the strongest words that I ever heard from him and from anyone else who spoke about war was: “We fought so you would not have to. ”
Unfortunately, I only know him as “Billy.” I could not find out his full name. So, Billy, I would like to say thank you for what you have done. May we all remember you and your buddies, all ways.