Harry Neill recently saw film footage of The Dieppe Raid.
“I recognized that,” the Dieppe veteran said Saturday at the 96th Warriors’ Day Parade at the CNE grounds.
“Seeing it always brings back the times,” he added.
Neill — who joined the Canadian forces at 17 and was among the first group of Canadians to go overseas in 1939 — was given the honour of being the lead veteran in this year’s parade.
He actually did his training as a young man a stone’s throw from the parade at the CNE’s horse palace.
The parade was in Commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of The Battle of Vimy Ridge and the 75th Anniversary of The Dieppe Raid, the bloodiest day in Canada’s military history.
Maj.-Gen. Simon Hetherington has been to the beach at Dieppe.
“I stood there and can’t imagine,” Hetherington said. “You can draw on the legacy from those veterans who gave before us.”
It’s a good day an so many line the parade route, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said.
“This is a reminder how important it is to remember those who gave their lives for us to be able to live in a democratic society,” he said.
Thousands watched as the bands and veterans filed by during the hour-long parade.
“A soldier always wants to march in a parade and we will give anyone who wants to the opportunity to do so (even if they need to be driven),” said Mark Stephenson, president of the Warriors’ Day Parade Council.
“It’s as important to keep the parade going for the veterans as it is for families,” he said. “For many it’s a tradition to remember a father or grandfather and some even come with boxes of medals.”
For Erin Netzke, her husband, two sons and her veteran father, attending the parade is a tradition.
“I’ve been coming since I was a kid,” said Netzke, who father was in the First World War and grandfather was in the Second World War.
“I want my kids to understand the traditions and it’s a good visual to explain history,” she said. “I hope one day they will bring their kids.”