There is something that has been troubling me lately. When we moved to New Brunswick a few months ago, we settled in Dieppe. As I called utility companies, financial institutions, etc to update my address, I would name the city, and then spell it out for the customer service agent. Ninety percent of the time, the agent would then read the address back to me and pronounce Dieppe, as "Dippy".
Most Canadians SHOULD be familiar with the name of Dieppe, maybe not as the name of a Canadian city, but as a name with historical significance in Canadian history. For those who don't know the small town of Dieppe, France was the setting for a major yet, largely unsuccessful Allied raid on German troops in 1942. The purpose of the raid on Dieppe was to give the Allies a chance to test techniques and equipment for landing troops from the sea. The Battle of Dieppe was, unequivocally, a disaster for the Canadian troops, resulting in over one thousand Canadian deaths. Another two thousand Canadians were wounded and/or taken prisoner. Two years later in 1944, however, the lessons learned from this debacle would lead to major Allied victories on D-Day, ultimately turning the tide toward complete Allied victory in 1945.
The fact that the raid was at the time unsuccessful is not the point here. The point is that over 3000 Canadians sacrificed themselves on that one day. Over the course of both World War I and World War II, a total of 109,980 Canadians lost their lives. Hundreds of thousands more were wounded or taken as prisoners. Of the millions who enlisted in the two world wars, and who endured situations and tribulations none should ever have to bear, I think it is safe to say that none ever again found personal peace. But from this, we today continue to live in peace in one of the greatest nations in the world.
One can not say what our country, our world, would be like without the sacrifice of these men and women. I think we would never want to know. Show respect to these men and women: learn a little about what they gave, what they achieved, and how you benefit as a direct result. The lost or fractured lives of one million men and women is not something to take for granted.
As these men and women pass on and finally find their own personal peace, the memory of their sacrifice is in danger of becoming lost forever. Today, and always, remember, but also respect what was done for you.
Rest in peace. Lest we forget. And most importantly - Thank You.
This photo was taken at the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Courcelette, Belgium. The cemetery is near the town of Ypres.