War stories not forgotten
Posted 49 mins ago
Rex Rose knows he's lucky. He can list many names of people he knew from Peterborough who died in the Second World War.
"Bruce Forsythe, killed in the air force. I went to Scouts with Bruce and it's hard to think this poor guy lost his life...."
Rose, 86, was a mechanic with the Royal Canadian Navy and patrolled the waters of England, Scotland and Ireland during the Second World War.
"My neighbour down the street he was in the Navy, his ship was torpedoed off Newfoundland and they didn't find any trace of him at all.... Another friend of mine, who I knew fairly well, was torpedoed off Nova Scotia and he died later in hospital," Rose recalled yesterday.
"Those are the veterans that I think about during Veterans Week especially with the two-minute silence.
"I am here, healthy, well looked after -- they are gone."
Rose was one of many veterans at an open house and educational fair held at the Peterborough Armoury yesterday to mark Veterans Week.
Organized by Veterans Affairs Canada, there were more than 25 display booths and many veterans ready to share their stories.
This year also commemorates the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro said the First World War runs the risk of being forgotten.
"When you've got a group of young people, young students, it's really important to emphasize that," he said.
"I think one of the things that makes it very real to young people is for them to understand that these were young people as well. I think there's a responsibility of remembering what they've done."
Damien Hill, a Grade 6 pupil at Rhema Christian School, was especially interested in the display of weapons from different battles.
"With meeting all these veterans I'm learning how much they had to go through. I've been listening to stories," said the 11-year-old.
Rev. Frank Patrick, from Calvary Pentecostal Church, said Canadians often forget that soldiers have more than just a military role.
Patrick, 61, was on a peacekeeping mission in Cyprus in the 1960s, as a Canadian soldier, before becoming a chaplain.
While in Cyprus, his regiment ran an orphanage for Greek and Turkish children. "They were victims of a civil war that wasn't of their choosing. And in Afghanistan today, these men and women are doing the exact same thing with orphanages, schools and clinics, which is something a lot of Canadians aren't aware of," Patrick said.
"Peace is more than the absence of conflict. There's a quality of life also there. Maybe the bombs have stopped but if that kid is dying of illness, or can't read or write or is starving, what's the point? You have to address that."
NOTE: Rev. Frank Patrick said he's in regular contact with Canadian chaplains in Afghanistan. "Faith is a very important aspect of life for the troops there.... Whether it's death of the enemy or death of a close friend of theirs, they see it on a daily basis."
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