VE Day : May 8, 1945
On this day in 1945 I was just over two years old, my sister Penny was 4 and my brother was amonth and a half away from being born. My mother was alone with two toddlers and a bun in the oven while my father was in the Air Force repairing aircraft in Base Trenton , east of Toronto on Lake Ontario. At 27, he was too old to go over seas as cannon fodder. In war we kill our young, so very young!
I do not remember the day but my mother who was a bit of a Royalist and an admirer of Britain and Winston Churchill did "This is London Calling" is how it began over the BBC radio .In the coming years she would tell us of the days of the war as she experienced it. It was hard being a young mother alone without a car, little money, rationing and a coal fire furnace to maintain. (She wasn't expected to hold down a job as well in those days.)
I just learned recently that I was not born a Canadian but a British subject, as all Canadians were until the Citizen Act was passed after the war in 1947.
For those who don't understand Canadian history, Canada became a sovereign country one step at a time, perhaps beginning with the British North American Act and ending with Prime Minister Trudeau bring in the Constitution Act and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Some may still think it won't be complete until Canada gets rid of our Queen. I hope not.
Canada won it's sovereignty in the 20th Century in part due to the quality of our military in the two World Wars. Canada, in those days a country of 12 million people, put in the field an military of 0ne million soldiers, a remarkable response to the call of God, Queen and Country. for what was perhaps the last "just war".
This is a good day to remember my mother and all her war, Royal and Churchill remarks and stories.
Feel free to stand and sing along
Land of Hope and Glory
Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee, who are born of thee?
Wider still, and wider, shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet!
Truth and Right and Freedom, each a holy gem,
Stars of solemn brightness, weave thy diadem.
Tho' thy way be darkened, still in splendour drest,
As the star that trembles o'er the liquid West.
Throned amid the billows, throned inviolate,
Thou hast reigned victorious, thou has smiled at fate.
Land of Hope and Glory, fortress of the Free,
How may we extol thee, praise thee, honour thee?
Hark, a mighty nation maketh glad reply;
Lo, our lips are thankful, lo, our hearts are high!
Hearts in hope uplifted, loyal lips that sing;
Strong in faith and freedom, we have crowned our King!
I shall spent part of the evening watching a TV program about the end of the War and try to capture to sorrow and joy that informed much of my parents adult life. I wish I had some young people around to see how monumental the War was moving personal lives lived. And, far too many died!