Children of Canadian Second World War veters retrace history

ที่มา: ต้นฉบับ ความนิยม:เวลาปล่อย:2022-11-21

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Children of Canadian Second World War veterans retrace history through Dutch pilgrimage CBC News Loaded

Children of Canadian Second World War veterans retrace history through Dutch pilgrimage

I was in this kind of dreamlike state where I was needing to pinch myself to believe that it was finally happening, said Karen Hunter, who spent years trying to put the trip together.

Participants walked 60 km to the city of Apeldoorn in the Netherlands

Posted: Nov 11, 2022 6:00 AM ET Last Updated: November 11

David Smith, Karen Hunter and Victor Morton all took part in a 60km journey retracing the steps of Canadian Second World War veterans in the Netherlands.(Aastha Shetty/CBC News)

Near the end of the Second World War in 1945, tens of thousands of Canadian soldiers liberated the Dutch, saving millions from sickness and starvation.

The fight for freedom took the lives of more than 7,600 Canadian soldiers.

Many years later, in 2022, a group of 90 sons, daughters and grandchildren of those soldiers packed their bags for an unforgettable journey walking in their fathers footsteps hoping to learn more about what they saw, where they had been and the kind of sacrifices they had to make along the way.

I was in this kind of dreamlike state where I was needing to pinch myself to believe that it was finally happening, said Karen Hunter, who spent years trying to put the trip together. She had originally planned the trip for 2020, butthe pandemic forced her to postpone her plansagain and again.

She finally got her chance to make it happen this year.

The thirteen-day pilgrimage was called In Our Fathers Footsteps to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands and the Canadian soldiers who fought there.

Over a span of three days, participants walked 60 kilometres to the Dutch city of Apeldoorn, tracing a route similar to the one taken by Canadian troops in 1945, during the final months of the war. Once there, they were received by Princess Margriet, who was born in Ottawa during her familys exile during the occupation.

After the Second World War, many children of Canadian soldiers didnt really get a chance to hear about what exactly their fathers went through during the war.

My father never spoke of it, Hunter said. If and when he did, he only talked about the positive experiences like liberating Apeldoorn, for example. He, like many, buried this terrible time in their their life.

That experience growing up was shared by other people on the trip, like Victor Morton and David Smith. It left them wanting to know more about what their fathers had seen, where theyd been and what kind of sacrifices they had to make along the way.

He didnt want to get into what hed seen or anything, whether was even worth it, Morton said. But then after that, he saw just how liberated Holland was and how it had rebuilt itself.

In fathers footsteps, Guelph woman recreates Dutch liberation trek

B.C. woman joins once-in-a-lifetime tour following veteran grandfathers footsteps in World War II

The group was a river of red vests decorated with maple leaves, flowing from Dutch village to village. Smith said several Dutch people approached them to thank them for the sacrifices each of their fathers made.

These two men came over to us... and shook my hand and he said thank you, Smith said. They were very symbolic of what I saw in so many Dutch people. They just thought so much of the Canadians and what they had done for the Dutch people.

Hunter said this is the first and last time she will be organizing a trip like this.

She said the amount of work that went into the trip (from both her and many, many generous Dutch citizens who had pitched in their time and resources to help) would be impossible to replicate a second time.

Aastha Shetty can be reached via email aastha. or by tweeting her at @aastha_shetty

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