Remembering D-Day, June 6th 1944

To those that have, to those that do, and to those that will…

Today is June 6. A date that can easily slip past during the bustle of modern life, but a date of meaningful significance nonetheless. Some 78 years ago a little over 14,000 brave and trembling Canadians embarked on an impossible journey. Some men as young as fourteen, mere boys, were told with certainty that this day, June 6th, was likely to be their last with us here on earth, and yet on they went. With foreboding agony resting in their bones, on… they… went.

June 6th, 1944, the day of days.

Fast forward some sixty-two years later, and I would find myself dressed in prestine army greens, standing on a rain-soaked tarmac waiting for the remains of a fallen brother. A medic, like me. He was slain in the desiccated lands of sand and stone, Afghanistan. Cpl. Andrew James Eykelenboom.

Though I claim no comparison to those that stormed the beach, I know all too well the ache of loss that comes from fallen brothers. In my time spent in service, my unit would bury three of its own…

Today I stand grateful, introspective and mournful. But I do stand, because I am alive to do so, and have been granted the freedoms to do as I please. Freedoms that were gifted to me by those who came before my time. Men who fell in battle, women who sacrificed time and sanity to support the war effort. Because of them, and the men I knew, I am free.

June 6th, 2022 — tonight I pause, I still myself for just a moment, a brief wrinkle in the fabric of time, and I whisper just beneath a breath… “thank you.”

To those that have, to those that do, and to those that will… you have my thanks.

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