Today marks a sombre anniversary. It was 70 years ago today that Canadian soldiers embarked on what was essentially a suicide mission: an ill-planned raid on the port of Dieppe. This failed raid is burned in to my memory in many ways aside from the fact that I read up on quite a few WWII battles while pursuing my history degree. I have a few "connections" of sorts to this unfortunate event. During one of my university courses I had the opportunity to interview a surviving participant of the raid. It was a very sobering afternoon. As well, one of the participating infantry regiments, The Essex and Kent Scottish, now a reserve regiment, was from Windsor, Ontario where I attended university.
Going even further back, in the summer of 1993, I had the opportunity to play an "extra" during some of the beach landing scenes as part of a 4-hour mini-series filmed by the CBC. True, it wasn't exactly a high-budget production, but the experience of riding around in the choppy waters of Lake Ontario in a WWII-era troop landing ship and then charging up a beach in a wool uniform in 80-degree heat is something I still recall quite vividly almost 20 years later.
I'll leave out the criticisms and blame here, although I suppose in some ways by referring to this raid as a suicide mission in my opening paragraph I've slipped and let my historical biases show. At any rate, I definitely know where my thoughts (to say nothing of my respect and gratitude) will be today.