On Remembrance Day 2011 I will be in Ottawa, Ontario attending the Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine Conference. I will be taking a break from the conference to attend the ceremony at the cenotaph near parliament hill.
I started practicing as a chiropodist in 1985 in London, Ontario. I was privileged to meet many war veterans at the Western Counties Wing at Parkwood Hospital. I did not recall many of these veterans ever talk about their experiences during WW2 or the Korean War. I could only imagine what they had experienced.
During the past 10 years the number of WW2 veterans has been dwindling. I have noticed they have started to share some of their stories. I think movies such as “Saving Private Ryan” allowed them to open up. I had some veterans state they could not watch those opening scenes of the movie.
I wish I had documented some of their stories. Some of the stories were very funny and some were very sad. I do recall some the stories involved situations where a veteran would confront some type of inequality or exhibited a stubborn independence.
Recently, a long time patient of mine from Peterborough, ON was able to attend the 65th anniversary of Canada’s liberation of the Netherlands during May 2010. He was very touched by the response of the Dutch people during the anniversary ceremonies he attended. Unfortunately, he died 2 months ago.
Over the years, I have tried to thank as many of my war veteran patients for their sacrifices. Our war veterans have left a legacy that has allowed Canada to become a great country that welcomes everyone. Thank a war veteran on Remembrance Day.