Pandemic Saturday, June 6, 2020

Canadians on D-Day, June 6th, 1944,

See, I changed the title.

It’s day 86 for us, and we’re still hanging in there, though I may be running out of pants that fit me.

In Victoria, they have declared that the island is free of the virus. I’m not shocked as being a former Islander myself, we hated anything coming from the mainland, so I’m sure the Islanders kicked up their immune systems just to spite that Vancouver Covid-19.

Around our neck of the woods, gas has sneakily crept up to $1.12, but if you’re clever and look around, you can find it for $1.08. You can also find people playing tennis, bobbing around at the bike park, and even on the monkey bars (and not always kids, I should point out.)

From our deck, today, I was happy to hear the sound of kids playing and giggling and having a good time. I can’t put my finger on it, but there seems to be a lot less tension, at least in our little part of suburbia.

Now, don’t get me wrong, in the US, they seem to have gone insane in many cities, and God knows what that nutjob in North Korea is doing, but here, we’re at peace, mowing lawns, power-washing driveways, and waving at our neighbours (and secretly making sure their dogs don’t poop in our yards.)

June 6th, though, is a special day for another reason. It’s D-Day. On this day in 1944, the Allies stormed the beaches of Normandy and began the journey to take Europe back from the Nazis.

Of the 5 beaches where the Allies landed, the Canadians had one of them, Juno Beach. Living next to the US, it’s hard sometimes to realize just how much Canada used to punch above its weight. We took Juno beach, went on to take the city of Caen, and eventually fought our way through the Netherlands to free the Dutch.

I’m very proud of what we did and that we never shied away from the hard stuff (hell, there’s even a good argument to be made that we always seemed to get the ‘hard stuff’ since the Great War.)

I was actually lucky enough to go to the D-Day beaches in 1994, for the 50th anniversary, and I won’t lie, I was brought to tears when I visited the cemeteries. It’s easy to forget how young most soldiers were, and reading the small obituaries broke my heart. I can’t imagine losing The-Oldest to war. Or The-Youngest. What a terrible thing.

So, today, I want to honour the sacrifice that was made by our soldiers and sailors and air force. Men and women. My dad was in the RAF, my uncle, who I’ve recently lost, was in the Merchant Marines.  I had other uncles who joined the Canadian navy or flew bombers against the Germans, and aunts who worked as nurses or as supply clerks.

I even had the pleasure of meeting a man captured by the Japanese, a man who had survived the horrific abuse afflicted on him, then forgiven his captors.

A sense of great sadness fills me as more and more of that generation passes on, but I treasure those still with us.

So, if hugging ever comes back in style, watch out, the normally unhuggy Joe will likely hug the hell out of his friends and family.

Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and respect the new world.

About Joe Cummings

Aquarius. Traveler. Gamer. Writer. A New Parent. 4 of these things are easy. One is not. But the journey is that much better for the new people in my life. A life I want to share with others, to help them, maybe, to make them feel less alone, sure, to connect with the greater world, absolutely.
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1 Response to Pandemic Saturday, June 6, 2020

  1. It is good you mentioned D-Day: it kind of got forgotten between COVID and racial tensions. To rip off Shakespeare, I certainly hold my manhood cheap while any speaks that fought for us upon invasion day.

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