"World War II is my heritage. The war shaped my parents’ lives, and impacted mine in many ways. My parents’ stories, together with those of many other Canadian baby boomers, represent our generation’s shared history.
My mother was engaged to a Canadian pilot who was shot down on Valentine’s Day, just three months before Germany surrendered to the Allies. My father enlisted in the Canadian army when he was 22. He fought in the Italian campaign before his unit joined forces with the First Canadian Division to liberate The Netherlands.
My father’s sister, and four of my mother’s brothers, also served in WWII."
"When I was young, Dad’s wartime memories had a ghost-like presence: a framed black-and-white photo of his first unit—Conn Smyth’s 30th Light Anti-Aircraft Battery (aka The Sportsmen’s Battery), a wooden clog with a handwritten inscription—With many thanks for that did the Canadian forces for our Dutch country and our people, Dutch Christmas cards with names like Menten, Ingenhousz, and van der Meij. Every November 11th, no matter the weather, Dad pinned his medals to his chest and marched in the local Remembrance Day Parade. I can still picture his face: so proud, so serious, so wistful.
When Dad returned to The Netherlands with fellow veterans for the Liberation’s 40th anniversary celebrations in 1985, he and my mother began a 34-year relationship with their Dutch host family. My parents returned for the 50th anniversary in 1995 and that’s when Dad began to talk about his wartime experiences.
Four years later, on his 80th birthday, he presented me with a special gift: his memoir, “The War Years.” Then, at the age of 89 in 2009, Dad passed away. His wartime memoir is my inspiration for In Our Fathers’ Footsteps.
May 2021 marks the 75th+1 anniversary of the Liberation of The Netherlands though few veterans will witness this milestone. As their descendants, it’s our turn, our time, and our privilege to carry the remembrance torch.
Please join me in honouring these veterans while celebrating the peace, freedom and Dutch friendship that we enjoy … that is their legacy."
- Karen Hun ter