The Second World War occurred on such a scale that it touched most everyone's life, even those who didn't directly serve in the armed forces during the war.
Thus it was for Elsie Lix, who has been chosen by the Weyburn branch of the Royal Canadian Legion to be honoured as the 2012 War Mother for the Remembrance Day services to be held on Sunday, Nov. 11.
She herself did not serve in war-time, but a number of important people in her life did, including her brother, Wylie Jeffrey, a cousin, and the man who would be her husband after the war, Casper (Cappy) Lix.
Wylie served in the Army; at the time he enlisted, he was working in Ontario and in 1943 he joined a regiment and went overseas to Holland for two years; he recently passed away.
Casper worked as a psychiatric nurse at the Weyburn Mental Hospital, and he enlisted in the Air Force on June 21, 1941, and served in medical units as a nurse for most of the war.
Casper also had a step-brother who served with the South Saskatchewan Regiment out of Weyburn, and a sister who served in the Navy.
"Cappy" Lix served almost five years in the war effort, including volunteering to stay after the war ended to serve as an interpreter with the 84 Group of the RAF in the air disarmament process in Germany.
His time of service included taking part in the historic landing at Normandy in June of 1944; as a medical personnel, he landed there on June 8 at Juno Beach near Courcelles.
D-Day is historically known as the greatest seaborn invasion in history, as 155,000 soldiers in 5,000 ships and landing craft landed on the five beaches on the Normandy coast, along with 50,000 vehicles and 11,000 planes.
In describing landing there on Juno Beach, Casper was overcome with emotion as he told of seeing bodies on the beach as far as the eye could see.
That winter he served in St. Joseph's Hospital in Eindhoven, Holland, and in 1945 crossed with the Allies into Germany, and was stationed in Hanover at headquarters for the 83 Group Fighters.
After being discharged in February of 1946, he returned to Canada aboard the Queen Elizabeth via New York, Montreal and eventually back home at McTaggart.
He went back to work as a psychiatric nurse at the Mental Hospital, where Elsie had been working as a nurse supervisor.
She came to Weyburn in 1942 from Herbert, and became a nurse supervisor after graduating from the nursing course in 1946, and this was when she met Casper.
They married in 1949, and raised two children, son Brian, and daughter Gwen, in their home on Elgin Street, where they lived for 51 years before they moved to their current residence at the Hill Top Manor.
Brian served in the army cadets as he grew up in Weyburn, and today he works as a microbiologist in Lethbridge, Alta., where he and his wife raised two children, a boy and a girl.
Gwen Kupiec today lives in Regina and works as a nurse; she and her husband raised four children. Elsie is hopeful both of their children will be back in Weyburn for the Remembrance Day services.
Of her time as a nurse supervisor, Elsie said, "I enjoyed my position there; we had both men and women in our ward. A lot of people had the wrong impression that the hospital was a crazy house; the fact is, a lot of those people had no place to live. People thought they were crazy, but they weren't. They just needed a place to stay, and I enjoyed working with them."
Elsie and Casper have been married now for 63 years; she is 92 years, and Cappy is 98 years.
A highlight for the couple recently was the presentation of an honourary Grade 12 diploma to Casper by the Weyburn Comprehensive School, at a special concert by the RCAF Command Brass and pipe and drum corps, hosted as a fundraiser by the Triple C Centre.
Casper was among a group of veterans who received the honourary diploma, the first time they had ever been granted by the Comp School.
He said it was a special honour to receive the diploma, as he was not able to get his Grade 12 due to the Depression. He grew up in McTaggart and went to school up to Grade 11, but was unable to go beyond that as he had no money to take his final year of schooling.
Another special moment for him and Elsie was when they travelled back to France for the 50th anniversary of the historic Normandy landing on D-Day.
He accompanied a group of other veterans, and received a special medal in a ceremony at Caen, France, and a thank-you medal in Holland for the part the Canadians played in freeing that country from the Nazis in wartime. His service in Holland was from October of 1944 in Eindhoven until April of 1945, when he accompanied the Allies over the Rhine into Germany.
Today, he and Elsie are both active members of the Royal Canadian Legion, which seeks to continue to pay honour to those who have served Canada in time of war and peace, including those who serve today in the Armed Forces.
Thus, Elsie will play a pivotal role in the Remembrance Day services on Nov. 11, as she will lay a wreath on behalf of all War Mothers at the cenotaph, during the first part of the service.
The ceremonies will move indoors for the main service, after all of the wreaths have been laid and two minutes of silence are held in memory of those who sacrificed themselves for this country. Inside, the War Mother will join the dignitaries on the stage where she will be acknowledged, and a special War Mother Tea will be held afterwards downstairs in the Legion for members and guests.