To the Editor,
Re: “Nephew pens book about pilot’s service in WWII, 75 years later,” Haliburton Echo, Aug. 11, 2020
When French philosopher Albert Camus was asked why he chose to join the French resistance, he responded that in the face of great evil, he never felt that he had a choice at all. Camus spoke for an entire generation, who when asked at the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939, answered en masse by flying planes, driving tanks, carrying rifles, manufacturing munitions and in the case of Flight Lt. Ross, dropping bombs over Nazi Germany. The odds of an airman surviving one tour (25 missions) in a Commonwealth aircraft was about one in four which made it one of the most dangerous services of the Second World War.
I think what makes the sacrifice of men like Flight Lieutenant Ross (and their families) so profound isn’t that they had no choice but that they did. Canadians fought, died and are buried all over Europe because they chose to fight for countries they had only read about and chose to liberate people they didn’t know and would likely never see again.
My grandfather’s generation wasn’t without fault but what they did intuitively understand is that some actions didn’t require complex explanation or justification, much less fanfare.
Some things you just did because they were right.