How does a “Dutch” Realtor never forget?
My parents are both Dutch. So are my wife’s. We’ve both heard many stories of the atrocities in the second world war. We’ve also both been told the many stories of human kindness and heroism. Though the atrocities were numerous and their effects long-lasting, we also learned that there were heroes on every side. There were many Dutch heroes like Corrie Ten Boom, and our Opas and Omas. What we too often call “heroes” today would pale in comparison to many everyday dutch people. People like my grandparents who hid Jews in their attics and slept on guns. There were German heroes too. Germans that cooperated with our grandparents in producing fake IDs that “changed” the race of many Jews.
But today we remember the heroes that liberated them. They (we) would not be free were it not for the young Canadian boys that despite the knowledge of the risk of their mission, laced up their boots, put on their helmets, lit a smoke, and marched into war. So many were lost. The remainder lost their innocence. They lost years of their life. They lost arms and legs. They lost their buddies.
And they gained the love and admiration of a nation that has never and will never forget.
How do guys like us, born in this country that our parents wanted so badly to be part of, remember them? We head to the cenotaphs on days like this and thank them. We salute them when we see a Vet license plate on the road. And I’m willing to cut my commission if I know that you fought in Holland. It’s the least we could do.
There aren’t many left. The few remaining have since lost more of their friends. Fewer guys to share a beer and a story with at the legion. Let’s not see fewer and fewer of those that remember. Let’s share the true stories of these real heroes with our kids. Let’s take a day like this to remember to do that.
God Bless you Gents.
Read about a real hero here: This guy saved my Mom’s town of Zwolle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Major