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30 Seconds On The Great Escape
Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
Most of the 2011 recipients are veterans. Ted Barris, a civilian, also received the commendation.
About Ted Barris
- December 11, 2013:
- December 13, 2013:
- December 18, 2013:
- March 12, 2014:
All evening long, I kept hearing the warnings. I had driven as far southwest on Highway 401 as it goes – in fact, I think I got to Kilometre Number 1 – in Windsor. I knew when the event at which I was speaking, on the Windsor side of the Detroit River, wrapped up, I faced the four-hour drive home to Uxbridge. At 10 p.m. I got in my car, started the engine and heard the weather forecast.
“Environment Canada has issued a weather statement,” the announcer said. “Wet snow or blowing snow will make driving conditions treacherous.”
I’m sure my teachers taught it during a day I was absent from high school. But somewhere in there I missed that important life lesson that came from physics class. “For every action in the universe,” Isaac Newton said around 1687, “there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
I’m often asked what it’s like being a freelancer – someone who creates often without knowing whether the work will ever be published. Suffice to say, it’s a speculative jungle out there. I know. As a newspaper and magazine writer for some 40 years, I’ve been eaten alive whole more than a few times.
On the third floor of a building in the southwestern quadrant of this major city on the Prairies, sits a non-discript office. Nothing special about its look or identification. Just another downtown Calgary workplace. However, inside resides one of the most precious resources, the city discovered last summer, that helped thousands of its citizens weather perhaps the city’s least predicted natural disaster – the 2013 flood of the Bow River. “[As many as] 2,159 free counselling sessions were delivered,” the Distress Centre in that Calgary office reported. “Online crisis chats increased 739 per cent,” during the flood.
The conversation began much the way many of my chats with men of a certain age do. I got his birth date. The man told me he was born in January 1923. He quickly pointed out he’ll be 91 in the New Year. Next, I asked about where he’d grown up and because he’d lived through the Second World War, where he’d served. He explained he’d been with the East Yorkshire Regiment on D-Day as part of the Operation Overlord invasion force. I asked Geoff Leeming if he would be our honorary veteran at the Uxbridge Oilies Remembrance Tournament on Nov. 9 at the arena. “Fine,” he said, “but you know I didn’t serve in the Canadian Army. It was the British Army.” “Doesn’t matter to me,” I said. “You’re a veteran in my books.”