June Gillrie recently brought us back to a poignant scene in Canadian history. The 98-year-old woman from B.C. could write several novels about her life, yet this one goes back nearly a century to her birth. She arrived in the second year of World War I, and the news of her birth was relayed to her father William Kineer Leslie, a sergeant fighting with Canadian forces in France.
Amidst the great sadness and death at the front lines of the war, Leslie celebrated the birth of little June. In a letter to his darling wife he wrote, "I can't tell you how happy I am now since I got the news yesterday… You always wanted a girl, and now you got one.” Looking forward to the day he’d meet the child, he said, “I will sure worship the little thing."
Sadly, Leslie died before that day ever came – on June 7, 1917 he was killed by enemy fire. Gillrie recently donated her father’s letter to a Canadian museum. It’s a testament to the fatherly love that transcends time and distance. Life is precious. Gillrie’s father died, defending the freedom and lives of fellow humans. We are deeply grateful to our veterans and soldiers for their service and sacrifice for our safety.
For a video of June Gillrie, see this article’s main source at CBC News.