A Letter addressed to Ralph Clarke (Canadian Army veteran, Second World War)

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Letter from the community of Wilmot, P.E.I. (1946) welcoming
Ralph O. Clarke– N0. 86 Bridge Company, R.C.A.S.C. Reg.No. F-79968 1942-1946
and other veterans back to the community after the war

Dear Ralph,

In the hearts of your friends gathered here tonight there are very real feelings of appreciation and thankfulness.

At the time when Europe was crumbling, England was shaking, it seemed as if the forces of evil would flourish, in the words of a poet" Hope for a season bade the world farewell" .

In the blackest hours Democracy has ever known, youth stepped in, filled with hope and courage.

The ranks of the army, navy, and air force grew and expanded to great proportions. These forces consisted of boys such as went out from our district of Wilmot Valley, boys who were willing to risk their future that the free thinking people of this world might be saved from the tyrant.

"You gave your merry youth away, for country and God."

When these crusaders were trained and ready in every detail, the struggle began anew, gradually the forces of right advanced from North Africa, Sicily, Italy and from France through Belgium and Holland till finally, by God's grace, they overcame the enemy and saved mankind from ruin.

As we think of you boys tonight we think of the parts you played, in the great battleships plying thro' dangerous waters, in huge bombers flying over Europe in gravest peril every minute, in the armies in France, Holland and Germany, manning the huge tanks into battle, and those of you who overcame the obstacles in the paths of advancing armies, we think of those who had a share in keeping the bombers flying, those who helped train the recruits, those who worked in offices. Every part was vital. Without co-operation from every department, whether on the continent of Europe, in England or in Canada the great battle might have been lost. But by each one doing his very best in that which was required of him, with a mighty effort victory was gained.

Our hearts are humble as we think of the cost to the young men, both to those who lost their lives and those who returned to us.

Our community gives thanks that none of our boys were called upon to give their lives, but we recognize the fact that none of us can ever know the full cost to each of our boys, we can only show them our heartfelt gratitude for the heroic parts they played in the great struggle.

As these boys come to take their place in the daily routine again, it is our duty and privilege to do everything in our power to make their readjustment as smooth as possible. May we prove ourselves worthy of the sacrifice they have made, we must not break faith with those who fought and died.

What our boys want now is simply means of livelihood with a reasonable wage. We realize there must be a tremendous industrial upheaval in the swing from war needs to those of peace time production, but our government will do all possible to make that change as quickly as possible, and when new fields of science are expanded and new industries begun, we trust that everyone will have the opportunity to settle in a position of his choice and reap the harvest of his sacrifice and toil during these war years.

Again we extend our humblest thanks to you and we rejoice with your families to have you safe home again.

Please accept these gifts from our community, from your friends, whose hearts are filled with appreciation for your heroic part in a great cause.

Signed on behalf of your friends in Wilmot Valley.