This is a non-education post that came about in part because the Historica Foundation released their video commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands.
Today is May 5th.
75 years ago today, the Germans surrendered in the Netherlands and the Dutch were free. This happened because Canadians sacrificed their lives to liberate the Netherlands.
The food drops depicted in this video saved lives in the Netherlands. By the winter of 1945, the Dutch were down to a ration of 300 calories a day. Many of the Dutch turned to digging up Tulip bulbs to eat in order to survive. They were starving and dying. The Dutch call it the Hongerwinter or Hunger Winter.
Without those Canadian soldiers, I would not be here today. Neither would many of the people I love. Including my son. Both of my paternal grandparents were in the Dutch Resistance. They smuggled Jews, spied and performed sabotage. It is doubtful they would have survived if the Nazis had not been defeated.
By this point in the war, my dad had been born, but sent away to live with relatives because my Opa had escaped from the Nazis again and he and Oma were in hiding. When the Canadian battalion showed up, my Opa became a scout for them and while he described it as heading into the next village to liaise with the resistance. We have since found out that it was so much more. Oma tells stories of having fun partying with the soldiers, but again, there was a tendency to downplay the danger they were in when telling stories to the grandchildren.
Canada is a small country that is often mocked by ourselves and others for our kindness, but never forget that we are capable of great things. There are millions of people alive today because we cared enough to free a country that we had very few ties too. I never forget that I am one of them.
Thank you, Canada.