Hundreds of people gathered in Steinbach for a Remembrance Day service at the Pat Porter Active Living Centre. 

This coming year marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy. An event that is often seen as the beginning to the end of World War II. 

RCMP, war veterans, and cadets stand at attention.

There are many war stories to remember and share. Earlier this year, Steinbach Online published a special story about a bracelet.

Nancy Charney-Mayers has a special story to tell about a unique bracelet that has been passed down through her family for generations. The bracelet, made from coins collected by her father-in-law during his time in World War Two, has become a priceless family heirloom and symbol of resilience in the face of adversity. 

The bracelet was made by Nancy's father-in-law while he was stationed in the Netherlands as a messenger for the troops. Looking for a distraction from the war, he started punching holes in the Holland coins he had in his pocket and used wire to fashion a bracelet. He then made a little card with the return address back in Canada and kept the bracelet safe until he could send it home. 

 "He knew that if he wrapped it with this little card in a piece of cloth and put it in his pocket, that three things would happen. Either it would be found and it would be sent home, or he would get to a place where he would be able to mail it, or that he would be able to deliver it himself when he returned home," Nancy explained. 

Years later, when her father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer in 2001, he gave the bracelet to Nancy. "He said to me, 'I have something special for you,' and in his hand was this bracelet that he had kept all those years, and he had a little tear in his eye," Nancy recalled. 

After the war, he stayed behind and worked as an interpreter at the concentration camps.  

A bracelet made with Canadian pennies.Bracelet made from coins in Holland during WWII

Going back to 2010, Laura Vanderlinden phoned us to share her memories of Canadian soldiers giving their lives for people in other countries.

Originally from Holland, her story offered another view on Remembrance Day.

She says the Canadian Soldiers did not only help Canada, but she adds they also helped so many countries in Europe that were occupied by the German soldiers. She was 11 years old at the end of the Second World War and when they could see the Canadians coming, she says it was such a joy. They were very hungry people in the Amsterdam area and Vanderlinden believes that Canadian soldiers saved their lives.

She explains prior to Canadian forces delivering them from the war, she wasn't even allowed to live in Amsterdam. Most of the kids from the city were put in the rural areas surrounding the city. There, they either lived with farmers or relatives to be fed and kept safe just in case Amsterdam would have been bombed.

In the small village where Vanderlinden was staying, Canadians had set up a small fort. She tells us on a Sunday afternoon, the men invited all the young children into their camp to show them all the stuff they had, on top of treating them to chocolate and juice. They were so delighted that they were there.

Vanderlinden has now been living in Canada for over 40 years and she says one of the main reasons why she and her husband chose Canada, was in fact because the Canadians delivered them from the war.

-With files from Michelle Sawatzky, Carly Koop, Adi Loewen


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