Lest We Forget

The Canadiana Backpackers voted best of all hostels in North America.?

I’ve got a nice story for today’s entry.? I heard from a? long term resident named Ron who? likes to stay in hostels while travelling. Ron lives in British Columbia. We had him as a guest here for several months last summer while he was in Toronto taking care of some family business.

He? went for a visit to Holland after he left our hostel to participate in what might be the last celebration of the Canadian liberation of the Netherlands in 1945. You see, his older brother is buried there among thousands of other young Canadian soldiers who? died in that bitter struggle. Ron is a retired electrician and never got to know his older brother. It was an emotional journey for him.

What made his? trip a happy one was the way the Dutch people have not forgotten the sacrifices of so many young men. Returning veterans – survivors of those bloody battles? – were? treated like Royalty from the moment their feet? touched Dutch soil. “It was difficult for a veteran to buy a drink in a bar,” he said. Drinks were? usually bought by either other patrons or by the management.? But even more touching was the way his brothers’ grave had been so respectfully kept and carefully tended for six decades.

Dutch? gratitude can best be seen in a single incident he experienced upon arrval at the airport in Holland. An elderly veteran, dressed in his legion jacket? (complete with ribbons) and beret with regimental cap badge, was ahead of him in line. He presented his passport to the customs officer and the document was returned to him unopened and unstamped. The officer said to the returning vet, “You came in 1944 without a passport. You don’t need one now. Welcome back.”

The Dutch, indeed, have not forgotten and have proven to so many veterans to be such worthy recipients of their of their noble sacrifice.

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