A trib­ute to vet­er­ans

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page -

The Ed­i­tor, My true his­tor­i­cal sou­venir. In 1971, I was on an his­tor­i­cal trip, tour­ing Nor­mandy, France. Stand­ing at Ar­ro­manches on a high bluff, I re­mem­ber walk­ing into a Ger­man-built pill­box, cir­cu­lar and one-and-ahalf-foot thick ce­ment round wall, 12 feet in di­am­e­ter with a slit open­ing for shoot­ing, look­ing over the English Chan­nel and the White Cliffs of Dover. I got shiv­ers stand­ing in that evil place.

Later, we ar­rived at the city of Caen, west Nor­mandy at 11 a.m. All was quiet. It was a warm dry, sunny day when we found our­selves in the very old main square. As we headed to lunch, I lagged be­hind a bit, walk­ing alone in the Caen Main Square. I no­ticed the word “Monastère,” in a re­cessed, slightly se­cluded area, about thirty feet back. Be­tween the main en­trance and the pub­lic road­way, there was a three foot high, an­cient lum­ber fence. The old wood had a com­pelling de­sign, be­ing in­ter­laced in a French style.

Stand­ing there, with the sun shining on top of the thick flat fence board were the carved words, “Cameron D -- Glen­garry, Canada.” I shiv­ered! He was from Glen­garry, where I was born!

My knowl­edge of WWII his­toric bat­tles is that Cana­dian sol­diers, the Glen­garry High­landers, fought hand-to-hand com­bat against the Ger­mans in the city of Caen. How­ever, Cameron D. found time to carve, I re­peat, carve his name into the monastery wood fence. For me to then dis­cover this was a huge mo­ment. A sol­dier from my own county in On­tario, Canada, a mem­ber of the Cana­dian Glen­garry High­landers who fought a very hard bat­tle in this very place.

A lit­tle later, while seated out­doors at a mod­est café, we looked around at the old five- or six-storey build­ings sur­round­ing the main square in Caen. The walls of many of th­ese build­ings were rid­dled with bul­let holes from the fe­ro­cious bat­tle fought there for lib­er­a­tion.

This is the view that Cameron D. had as he fought yet found time to carve his name into that monastery fence. It is a trib­ute to him and the Glen­garry High­landers. With bound­less ap­pre­ci­a­tion to them all!

Suzanne Black­burn, Alexan­dria

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