Re: “I remember soldiers from all countries,” column by Tom Zillich, Nov. 10.
Thank you for writing what you wrote. Both of my grandfathers were soldiers in the German army during the Second World War. Both immigrated to Canada with their young families in the 1950s and eventually settled in Vancouver. I am first-generation Canadian. I remember observing Remembrance Day at school, reading (and identifying with) stories about German Resistance fighters and shunning the Nazis, but never feeling like Remembrance Day was “my” day, too, even though Canada has always been my home.
It occurred to me for the first time this year that I have never honoured my grandfathers (and grandmothers) for what they suffered. They were not Nazis. I would never honour what the Nazis did. They were simply ordinary German men and women who endured a brutal war and lost so much. For the first time, I wept for them – wept for what they sacrificed and lost, wept for the trauma they endured and subsequent PTSD and mental-health issues they lived with, wept that there was so much shame that these things could never be openly recognized anywhere.