Don’t forget to make a donation and pick up your poppies this week! 


I would encourage you to ask people about their stories on Remembrance Day. Everyone has one. Family members, veterans, current military, community members…They deserve to be heard. And pay your respects at your local cenotaph. It is always one of my favourite community events and a condition we can’t let younger generations forget about.


Here are links to local cenotaphs in your area:

Whistler          Squamish         Pemberton


I always had a strong interest in WWII and even did a WWII tour of Europe when I was 18 years old because I loved the stories my grandparents had from that time.


My Opa was from the Netherlands but living in Indonesia when it was a Dutch colony to help his father start a bakery. He was only 14 years-old when the war broke out and he and his father were imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp in Jakarta.  I had a huge fascination with WWII when I was a kid and my parents taught me about it very matter-of-factly highlighting how lucky we are to be free and safe in Canada and also, how brave our grandparents generation, and other war generations were to live and experience the atrocities of war.


Opa did not like to talk about the war.  I tried to ask him gently many times. I brought him photos of him from shortly after the war where he was pale, and frail, and it looked like if he were to laugh or cough it would break his tiny ribs. He would change the subject and usually just starting making fun of my particular affinity for Dutch sweets and he would make sure I would never fall that thin. He wouldn’t tell me stories of the camp or how he lost his sister and his father. But he always told me this one:


In the Japanese POW camp in Indonesia, if the prisoners did something wrong or out of order they would be tortured in various ways. One method of torture would be for two guards to grab the arms and legs of a prisoner, throw them up high in the air, and let them free-fall painfully to the ground. My Opa was in the same cabin as a man who was about to be tortured. They grabbed the man’s arms and legs and launched him way into the air…where he then tucked, flipped twice in the air, and landed on his feet! Before the war, he was a trained gymnast. My Opa and the rest of his cabin cheered and yelled in excitement! The guards, frustrated and embarrassed, tried again. They threw him to the ground, grabbed his limbs and threw him up even higher in the air. Each time the gymnast was able to execute several flips and a perfect landing on his feet, unharmed. The guards eventually gave up and walked away.


I loved this story, especially because he used to act it out with my stuffed animals, but also it was a good memory he had from a terrible time and those were the ones he chose to hold on to.


Talk to our veterans, hear their stories both good and bad, share your support and ultimately…Remember.