Farewell to a Warrior
In May, 2010, Ted Barris, author of Juno: Canadians at D-Day, June 6, 1944 and Breaking the Silence: Veterans’ Untold Stories from the Great War to Afghanistan, led a group tour to the celebrations of the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Holland. A CBC video journalist joined them to report on the reaction of three of the veterans on the tour. One of them, Don Kerr, had travelled to France with Barris in 2009 for the 65th anniversary of D-Day and appeared in Zoomer‘s November 2009 issue.
A leader possessed of a devastating wit – and a great salesman – Kerr persuaded Canadian premiers to contribute millions of dollars toward the creation of the Juno Beach Centre in Normandy that now honours the efforts of Canadians (military and civilian) during the Second World War. On D-Day, Kerr had landed at Gold Beach, south of Juno Beach. He worried about attending the centre’s opening in 2003, however, fearing that he would be overcome by emotion. Ted Barris told the story of the Juno Beach Centre and Kerr’s part in its establishment for the October 2003 issue of 50Plus magazine. You can find it at here.
Don Kerr died today (December 16, 2011) at the age of 90. A tall and imposing man, he had been healthy until very recently. During his 90th birthday celebration, he commanded centre stage and without missing a beat, introduced each one of the nearly 100 people in the large meeting room – without notes. We thought he would live forever.