Rosaline and I in England, left, and Rosaline’s dad, Walter Zdep in his uniform while serving during the Second World War.
I saw Saving Private Ryan when it came out back in 1998. I went with my husband as it was our date night movie. I recall watching the first 20 minutes, when the beaches of Normandy were being stormed with my eyes almost closed and my ears plugged. It was loud and gruesome. I made it through the film, learning more about the Second World War than I had in school.
Two years later, I would perform one of my first interviews. It was with a Second World War Veteran. I was in journalism school, and the assignment was to write an article about Remembrance Day. I chose to interview my friend’s father – and the reality is he got me an A++. Walter Zdep was my good friend, Rosaline’s dad. I knew a little about his experience during the war. Well, I only knew where he travelled for his breaks during the war. The summer before I interviewed him, I had travelled with Rosaline to Aberdeen, Scotland. We visited the house where he stayed during his breaks, and we stayed with one of the family members he stayed with.
I never did meet Walter Zdep in person, but as he told me about his time serving in Europe over the phone, there were a few close calls for him. They were his war stories and stories he hadn’t shared with his family. They learned about them while reading my article. You see, my story was published in his local paper. Hence the extra “plus” with my mark.
As we gather at cenotaphs and war memorials across the country tomorrow to remember our fallen, those we have lost. I believe it is important to remember our military personnel and Veterans that have answered the call, served our country, and returned home. Many carry their war stories with them. Many untold. While there are so many moments in Saving Private Ryan that depict the realities of war, the one that tightens my chest and has tears welling up in my eyes is when Tom Hank’s character Captain Miller tells Private James Ryan to “earn this.”
Remembering the fallen and the living.
If you can’t make it to a ceremony, we have 10 ideas for remembering. Read them here. Another option, if you can’t make it to a ceremony visit the Canadian War Museum. They are live streaming when the sunlight shines through a single window in Memorial Hall to highlight the headstone representing Canada’s Unknown Soldier, along with other in person and online activities Read more here.
Tomorrow many flypasts are scheduled to take place. Read about them here. Also, to mark the day, landmarks across our country will be lit red to bring awareness to the Poppy Campaign and to remember our military personnel. Learn more about which landmarks will be red tomorrow night here.
And during this time of year, the Ontario SPCA runs its annual animal remembrance campaign, remembering the animals that have served during conflicts. Read about it here.
And finally, if you live in the Calgary area, Fields of Crosses has installed 3,500 crosses to remember those that answered the call in Calgary and Southern Alberta and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Read here. And for the bakers, don’t miss our War Time Cake recipe. Inspired by rationing during the Second World War, the cake uses ingredients that were available at the time.
Have a great week,
Until next time,
Pax tecum (Peace be with you)
If you are interested, you can read Rosaline’s story learning about her dad’s service here.
Read the whole E-Zine here.