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Son of Sask. D-Day solider remembers his father’s bravery, 75 years later
Published Thursday, June 6, 2019 4:36PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, June 6, 2019 6:49PM CST
Charles Bird was a member of the Regina Rifles, and landed on Juno Beach on June 6, 1944.
His son is proud to talk about his late father.
“I'm extremely proud to know that my dad joined up,” Nelson Bird said. “As did his brothers, his dad, to serve Canada without hesitation. They just knew that we all had to stand up,"
Charles, better known as Charlie, was born in 1919 on Peepeekisis Cree Nation. He enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces and at 24, he went to war.
He said his father didn’t speak much of his time overseas, but from the stories he did share, Nelson knew the experience took a toll on his father.
"Before the words ‘post-traumatic stress disorder’ came into effect, it was what it was," Nelson said.
In 2005, Nelson travelled to Juno Beach for the production of a documentary. He said that when he stepped onto the beach, he picked up the phone and called his father.
"I said ‘I’m here, I’m standing on the beach where you landed back in ‘44.’ And it just went silent, and he didn’t know what to say,” Nelson said. “I didn’t know what to say and the first words he said was ‘is that big house still there?’ And I said ‘yeah I’m looking at it I can see it right there’ and he said ‘oh good,’"
Nelson used that moment to thank his father.
"He said ‘thank you son,’ and that was it,” he said. “We had to say goodbye. It was a moment that we couldn't talk but the silence said a lot just in that moment for us."
"They should remember the freedoms we have to speak, to live our lives, to criticize the government and not be afraid and to go to a church of our choice," Keith Inches, curator of the Saskatchewan Military Museum said.
Keith Inches has dedicated his life to preserving the stories of Saskatchewan soldiers. He founded the Saskatchewan Military Museum in 1984.
Inches says it's important to recognize what those brave young soldiers gave to all Canadians.