My father, John Symes (1915—2001), was a WWII veteran, serving with the First Hussars as a gunner on board a tank which landed on the shore of Normandy on D-Day. He continued in battle for eight days when he was shot through the abdomen. Thanks to the heroic effort of a fellow soldier, Dad was rescued from the battlefield and his life saved. His brother, George Symes, continued in battle for another seven days and then his tank ran over a landmine. Uncle George miraculously also survived and on the long boat ride home from England, the brothers were reunited.
He never talked much about it. I’m sure his life was never the same after it. My older brother, James Symes, was born in Ontario while my father trained in England. I am grateful that in his later years, he and my mother adopted me. On Remembrance Day, my thoughts weigh heavy on me, contemplating the sacrifices made by my dad and his generation for us. God bless the memories of John Symes and George Symes, real heroes.