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Learner story archives

September 24, 2001

The following story was written by SandraLee LeBlanc, from Sydney, Nova Scotia. SandraLee is an adult learner with the Cape Breton Literacy Network, Northside Day Class. SandraLee loves animals and photography. She enjoys being with people and always has something nice to say to everyone. This is a story that was told to her by her father and grandfather.

A Conversation with a Veteran - A Picture Overseas

by SandraLee LeBlanc

This is a story about a veteran in World War II. His name is Doug Roy LeBlanc. I would like to tell you about the pain that many veterans went through during this war.

Doug was 20 years old when he joined the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve in 1940 in Halifax. As Hitler declared war many people were devastated. Doug volunteered to join the Navy because he wanted to fight for his country. Many young people do not realize what the veterans went through in this war. I could not tell you in words how painful it must have been for these veterans.

Doug was not married at the time he joined but he had 13 brothers and sisters and a mother and a father who he left behind. Doug told me in his own words how heartbreaking it was to see your friends get shot and die and most of all your best friend. There was nothing else to do but keep on fighting. He told me that when you had a friend in the war you did not know how long your friendship would last or if it would even last.

Doug's father Solomon LeBlanc also fought for his country in World War I. He was shot at Vimy Ridge. A soldier found him and he was taken to a hospital in England. They thought that he was dead but he was still alive. They could not do anything for him. For nine months he rolled on the floor trying to breathe. He lost so much weight that he went down to 90 pounds. They sent for a doctor in Halifax to come to England to help Solomon. When the doctor arrived he said, "Solomon, what you need is air." That is what the doctor did, he gave him air by punching a hole in his throat and putting in a tube. When Solomon began to breathe better he grabbed the doctor's hand as tears were rolling down his face. He then started to rub the doctor's hand to thank him. Solomon was the first man to ever live with a tube in his throat. He was told that he would live only a year but he lived until he was 71 years old. Solomon was also given a King's discharge from the army.

The following song was sang by SandraLee LeBlanc's grandfather Solomon LeBlanc from Alder Point when he returned from WWI. Sandra Lee's father Doug now continues the tradition and sings this song. He hopes to pass it on to his own grandchildren, Bernie and Doug.

"Picture was seen of a child in a home, gazing up in surprise when a man came in with a mask over both of his eyes. The little girl cried, "Please Sir, don't steal Daddy's medals. The medals he won overseas. They were found by his side before he died and sent to my mother and me. You can take the doll Santa Claus sent me but please don't steal Daddy's medals. The medals he won overseas."

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