A closing note to my post from June 2014 “D-Day Vets: A Disappearing Act to Follow”; Bernard Jordan died peacefully ten days ago at age 90. The WW2 British veteran, without telling anyone, set off on his own from the Pines Care Home in Sussex to attend the 70th Anniversary of D-Day 1944. It appears nothing was going to stop him from making that trip. He was headlined as the “great escaper”.
Bernard Jordan’s final story of escape (or escapade) certainly gained enough attention in the news last summer, just as we had begun to witness the declining numbers of the WW2 generation.
With respect, to be celebratory perhaps his death reminds us of the passing of a certain type of character. As Bernard said on his return to the Pines “…you just get on with it and do your best.”
February 28th would have been my father’s 90th birthday. He was a man of that certain character. While he didn’t exactly run away from Extendicare, he did plot to escape what he called “the big house” on one occasion. He wasn’t as mobile as our Mr. Jordan, but the disciplined Coldstream Guard never left him.
In Canada (as of last year), there were an estimated 88,000 WW2 veterans still alive at an average age of 90. I know of a few of them; and I am reminded of one of my Dad’s borrowed closing lines at one of his retirement dinners – “old soldiers never die, they simply fade away.”