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Salma Khattab

This past November, Salma Khattab travelled to Italy as a youth delegate on the official Government of Canada delegation to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Italian Campaign. While there, she attended ceremonies that honoured the sacrifices countless Canadians made for our peace and freedom.

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Salma Khatttab

“Why did they choose to fight?



At the end of each day in Italy, I came back to the same question. Why did they choose to fight? Why did countless men, many of whom were not far from my own age, choose to embark on this long and harsh journey knowing very well they might not make it back? Though each one of their reasons might be different, they all shared a common goal: to fight for peace no matter what it might cost. I believe that it is every youth’s duty to carry the torch of remembrance and to never forget them. As for myself, I will always be grateful for their sacrifice and will forever remember what they did to protect the country that I now call home.

I asked myself this same question as I was looking at the rows of tombstones each marking a fallen Canadian soldier laid to rest at the Cassino, Moro River and Ravenna War Cemeteries. Words failed to describe the rush of emotions I felt as I walked through these rows observing the names and ages of these brave men who fought and died here. Though a feeling of sadness remained when I placed a Canadian flag on one of the gravestones, I could not help but feel immense gratitude and pride. In those moments, I truly understood how lucky I am to have been born after this war and how grateful I should be for those who fought for me and others to live safely and peacefully today.

“Having moved to Canada at a young age and not having a relative who served in the war, I had always found it hard to connect with the events of the Second World War.”

Having moved to Canada at a young age and not having a relative who served in the war, I had always found it hard to connect with the events of the Second World War. For me, it was a long time ago, and the places were far away. I had attended and been a part of many Remembrance Ceremonies in Canada, but I only truly made a connection with the meaning of remembrance and its importance when I talked and listened to the Veterans.

Salma Khattab and another Canadian youth delegate speak with Second World War Veteran Don White while in Italy.

For me, visiting Italy, where part of the war occurred, with people who were fighting there 75 years ago, the events of the war became more tangible. The realities of this war became much more real in my mind. I came to realize that anyone who fights for their country, for peace and for humanity deserves to be recognized and remembered.

Reflecting upon the significant amount of lives lost during the Italian Campaign, I understood the importance of the role Canadian soldiers played fighting the German troops in Italy. With that I also realized how little I knew about the campaign, and how much I had to learn.

“As for myself, I will always be grateful for their sacrifice and will forever remember what they did to protect the country that I now call home.”

Attending a Remembrance Ceremony with Veterans of the campaign, listening to their stories is something I will always remember. Witnessing the Veteran’s pride as we promise to remember their contributions, and the ultimate sacrifice that many of their comrades made, is a remarkable experience that I am thankful for every day. As for myself, I will always be grateful for their sacrifice and will forever remember what they did to protect the country that I now call home.”

Salma Khattab is this week’s Face of Freedom, an example of a new generation of Canadians who continue to commemorate and honour the sacrifices of Canadian Veterans, both past and present. The actions of those Veterans have allowed us to lead the life we do today – strong and free.


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