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As Nazi symbols echo, remember who we fought on D-Day

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David J. Bercuson is a professor of history at the University of Calgary.

Each year, when the anniversary of D-Day comes around, I think of my father’s cousin, Bernard Bercuson, or rather, Pilot Officer Bernard Bercuson, who was killed in action just after midnight on Aug. 17, 1944. Bernard was a wireless air gunner aboard a Royal Canadian Air Force Halifax bomber, which means that he operated the radio aboard his aircraft and also manned a machine gun. He was one of three Bercuson boys who served in the military, the only one who didn’t make it home. With his death in battle, one ordinary Canadian family paid the blood offering alongside over a million Canadian men and women who fought the Nazis in the Second World War.

In the evening of Aug. 16, 1944, Bernard’s bomber took off from their base at Skipton-on-Swale in Yorkshire, England, and struck out east towards Denmark. Bomber Command was putting forward a maximum effort that evening attacking the port of Kiel, near the eastern entrance to the Kiel Canal, and Stettin on the north German coast. Bernard’s aircraft was assigned to drop mines in the Bay of Kiel. Airmen of the day called these missions “gardening” operations because they........

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