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Remembrance Day Reflection

The Empire Club 100 Front Street West, Toronto

Today, hundreds of thousands of young people are responding to a global crisis - that of climate change and ecological collapse. In the 1930s, the world also faced a global crisis - the rise of militant imperialist and racist ideologies, in particular the rise of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan. Then, in World War 2, in the 1940s, hundreds of young men and women – including Canadians - became secret underground agents and risked their lives to defend freedom in Europe and in the world from Nazi racism and tyranny. They were parachuted into Nazi-occupied territory or ferried in by secret aircraft or boats. They had to move, disguised, and always hunted in hostile villages, towns, and cities. They had to trust people they had never met. Sometimes their trust was betrayed. Discovery meant hideous torture and almost certain death. Their mission was to link up with resistance groups in occupied countries – in the beginning above all in France – and supply these groups with money, weapons, explosives, radios and communications, and leadership and guidance.

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