As a U.S. Marine I was frequently invited to the Canadian Legion to share quality Canadian beer and listen to veterans' stories of WW2. One in particular stands out.
The people of Ermelo, Netherlands liberated by Canadians, “B” Squadron of the Strathcona's on April 17th 1945.
Many Dutch citizens hid downed allied pilots and created an underground transportation system to reunite the fliers with their unit.
The Nazis terrorized villages for years, raping, killing at will, starving many to death.
The veterans with whom I had the honor and privilege to become friends, remembered the atrocities they encountered. Many were in units which liberated death camp survivors.
Teaching World History to teenagers, many disbelieved that one group of human beings could inflict such heinousness on others. Then they viewed the footage taken by the liberating Canadians, British and Americans.
Wearing a poppy today isn't enough, we must educate while honoring those who sacrificed the ultimate, their lives to free Europe from Nazi control.