A tribute to veterans
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