Veteran Spotlight: General Richard Rohmer
As the country prepares to mark Remembrance Day this week, one of its most celebrated veterans is doing his part to remember his fallen comrades.
Retired Major-General Richard Rohmer was just a young man when he served overseas in the Second World War, playing pivotal roles on D-Day and in the Battle of Normandy.
"One hundred and thirty-five missions and going out to the airplane 135 times, getting in it, putting the parachute on, turning on the machine and going out and being fired at, every one of those at low-level by the Germans and hit only once," General Rohmer recalls.
The General is the final veteran left from Squadron 430.
During his service, General Rohmer played a pivotal role, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross in recognition of his successful reconnaissance missions.
He says his drive to serve his country comes from a never-ending desire not to let any opportunity slip past him.
"I'm an opportunity person. If I'm in a field, and I've had several professions, and to say I'm writing, the law, the military, many things," says General Rohmer. "And they all relate to seeing an opportunity to do something and being able to seize the opportunity or to make the opportunity come alive."
This time of year provides him an opportunity to pay tribute to the veterans who did not manage to make it home, as well as those who continue to serve.
"I utilize the memory bank pictures that I have in my mind to pull up the images of several of them, emphatically, and it works very well," says General Rohmer. "I remember them."
With many veterans no longer with us, the General says veterans like himself must share their stories, ensuring the sacrifices made by so many are never forgotten.
"It's an opportunity to try to reach the younger generation with stories and to let them know that we did have a war and that our young people, their age, were sacrificed in it and that we, in my generation, should remember them, and I do," says the General.
General Rohmer has become one of Canada's most decorated citizens in history, becoming an Officer of the Order of Canada and serving in various honorary roles, including Honorary Deputy Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.
He has pursued a successful legal career and has penned more than 30 books.
As he approaches his 98th birthday, he's showing no signs of slowing down as he works on writing yet another book.
"There's no reason to [slow down]! I'm lucky from that point of view. My brain is still, the vacuum between my ears is still working."