Re: War and memory (Nov. 10). Dave O'Brien deserves an award for his well-researched articles, which are full of information we don't usually get on Remembrance Day; for example, the average height and education of the men. I find these details enthralling.
Canadians may be too modest about their war service but they make much more of Remembrance Day than do the British, who have moved the celebration to the nearest Sunday. There is no national holiday.
My dad fought with the British in the First World War and wrote an account 50 years later, which sparked interest in all his children. I think all these articles could be made into a good book.
We feel great pride to be a part of your tribute to the Canadian servicemen preparing for the D-Day landings. My wife's father was one of these brave men. Initially with the Winnipeg Rifles, he was attached to the 1st Provost Corps. He, with thousands of others, were stationed here on the Isle of Wight prior to D-Day.
The stretch of water between the island and the mainland was just a mass of ships, both large and small. It was rumoured that one could walk across the Solent from ship to ship. Then on June 6, 1944, they were gone, the waters clear of all shipping, all en route to the beaches of Normandy.
Dad was one of the first to hit the beaches of Juno. He was a beach master and thankfully he returned at the cessation of hostilities, wounded yet alive and safe.
He returned to Winnipeg, followed by his new wife. In 1947 they returned here to the island, where he remained until his passing in 2002. Throughout all the years that passed, he would never talk of the horrors of that war, except to say that he lost many comrades.
The only problem with your section is that it remembers only the sacrifices made in Europe, which were definitely tremendous.
There was another part of the world Canadians fought in and the sacrifices there are generally overlooked. That was in Asia.
My father was killed in Hong Kong, along with a large number of other men from Winnipeg. Those who were not killed endured terrible hardships while living in the POW camps in Japan.
People should realize that Remembrance Day is for all those who sacrificed their lives for us, whether in Europe, Asia or the Middle East.
I am a survivor of the Holocaust: Westerbork in the Netherlands, Bergen-Belsen in enemy territory, the last train to the gas chambers, freed by the Soviets at the gate of that hell, returned to my country of birth by Americans, and given apples and candy by the liberating Canadian Armed Forces.
Twenty years later, having decided to emigrate, Canada was my only country of choice. Forty years thereafter, I can look back on a happy life, a good career and great friendships. Thank you, Canada. Merci, Canada.
Kudos to the Free Press, and David O'Brien in particular. The entire section encompassed a wide variety of views, as well as the challenges of recognizing the role and sacrifice of Canadian soldiers since the Second World War.
O'Brien rightly recognizes that Canada and Poland have both had their roles minimized. This is, in part, because of the depiction in popular culture: To this day, British and American films and television series focus on their own countries' role to the exclusion of others.
The sad irony is the war started with the invasion of Poland and ended with it occupied by the USSR, which made acknowledging its role harder in the Cold War.
The lesser recognition of more recent wars continues today. We do not adequately recognize or support the veterans of conflicts from the Gulf War through Kosovo and Afghanistan. Modern medical technology means that people who once might have died now survive, but are disabled, sometimes severely.
We need to remember our soldiers who gave their lives, but we also need to support the living veterans who gave their bodies.
I pricked myself twice and lost three poppies this year. It had been a bit of an irritation.
But thanks to that inspiring letter by Diana La Plume (The point of the poppy, Nov. 10), I look at those occurrences in an entirely different light. Thank you.
Waiting for the best
Re: Partisan divide mars victory (Nov. 8)
A victorious President Barack Obama told Americans he had never been more optimistic. Then he quipped "the best is yet to come."
Now, since little has been done in the last four years, the U.S. economy is in tatters and Americans are suffering with near depression-like unemployment, what exactly does he mean by "the best is yet to come?"
Maybe the Nobel committee will give him another prize in four years when he has turned the United States into a North American version of Greece.
Leading the way
Re: Court shuts down First Nations smoke shop, chief handed hefty fine (Nov. 5). As Canada's leading legal tobacco company, Imperial Tobacco congratulates the Government of Manitoba for its leadership in addressing the supply of untaxed and unregulated tobacco sold by the First Nations-owned Chundee Smoke Shop.
Manitoba is leading the way on this important and complex societal issue. The province has taken decisive action to confront a problem that other provinces, most notably Ontario and Quebec, have shied away from for fear of political fallout.
It is reassuring to see that at least one province believes that there should not be two sets of tobacco laws in this country. It is time for other provinces to follow suit.
Imperial Tobacco Canada