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How My Dieppe Story Made Me Feel More Canadian

by DMcWriterboy, almost 4 years ago

I'm an immigrant to this country. I came here from the USA with my parents when I was eight years old.

Last year, I had the extraordinary opportunity of writing an important episode of my good friends' TV series, "XCOMPANY." The show, for those who don't know it, follows a group of spies behind enemy lines in occupied France in 1942, all trained at the real-life "CAMP X" - which was located near Whitby, Ontario. CAMP X trained, among others, the first several directors of the CIA, and Ian Fleming, who would later write the James Bond novels.

Anyway, for the end of the 2nd season, we did two episodes focusing on the ill-fated Dieppe invasion. My episode, the penultimate one of the season, was called "Butcher & Bolt" - which was Churchill's slang for what the Dieppe raid was supposed to be.

Of course, History had other plans and Dieppe stands as one of the most painful and perplexing sacrifices of WW2 for Canadians.

When the episode aired on CBC last March, I watched the reaction happen in real time from viewers on Twitter. I heard from educators saying, over and over, "thank you for dramatizing this story!" I heard from people from all walks of life, many of them saying a version of the same thing, over and over: "I had no idea!" "Why weren't we taught this in school?" "I can't believe that we don't know more about this!"

I went to high school here. I remember short shrift given to Canada's history in the war. I read about it on my own because I thought it was interesting.

Watching that reaction bloom, of Canadians taking stock, taking pride, and drinking in a story about their history, and their past, was so incredibly moving to me. It made me sad to see all the people saying, "why don't we know our stories?" It made me happy to know that I had helped to shine a light on the sacrifices of our brave soldiers, and spies, and civilians. I said then, and feel now, that I have never felt more Canadian than I did at that moment.

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