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Jun. 20, 1945: Lancaster bombers in Dartmouth, N.S., part of 40 RCAF aircraft flown across the Atlantic by returning crews of Bomber Group in England. Originally published June 20, 1945.The Globe and Mail

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Loss, oh so final

Re 100 Years Later ( Nov. 13): Nancy McLean’s 100-year-old Armistice Day letter prompted me to share similarly poignant correspondence that speaks of a more painful ending for thousands of families during wartime. It was written by my grandmother, Mildred, to her mother after confirmation that Mildred’s son, Donald Plaunt, had been killed as a result of a 1943 bombing mission. It reflects the harsh acceptance of loss that would continue to echo in places they once shared.

This will just be a short note, with not very happy news. We had a wire from Ottawa on Sunday evening saying that Donald had lost his life on the night of March 12, so reports the German Red Cross.

So that’s final. I never did have much hope, if any, that he would have landed safely. The area is too well fortified and Essen is one of their best manufacturing cities. That’s all the news we got, so if he died that night he didn’t suffer long.

Don’t feel too badly. He lived a happy, full life and perhaps accomplished more in his almost 21 years of living than some people do in a lifetime, and if he and other lads before him were not ready to go and die where would we all be? He chose to do this and he did it in his own way.

We could have done lots of things to dissuade him from his training but he would have none of it ... he got what he wanted, which was to be a pilot on a Lancaster bomber. He was one of the first Canadians to fly a Lancaster …

WB and I went up to Wye Saturday and home Sunday. Awful lonesome. I would see Donald tearing up the path and shouting “where do we eat ...”

Love to all, Mildred

Andy Thomson, Toronto


We have just seen world leaders, presidents and prime ministers, speak noble words about the horrors of war and the millions who sacrificed their lives. They placed wreaths at monuments in honour of the dead. My father served in both world wars: He was my hero, not because of that, but because he was a great dad who taught me that personal integrity means making your actions match what you say and believe.

In response to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, many of those same leaders were asked if they would support an end to producing and sending military weapons, vehicles, and other tools of death to nations such as Saudi Arabia (Turkey Links Crown Prince To Khashoggi’s Murder – Nov. 13). What does the word “sacrifice” really mean to these wreath-laying politicians who continue to support the manufacture of weapons of death, to approve their sale to other nations, and sometimes even to assist those nations in their slaughter?

William Graham, Victoria


Re Bacteria Turn Table Waste Into Bioplastics (Report on Business, Nov. 10): Wow, scientists have figured out how to turn food waste into plastic using bacteria.

Meanwhile, researchers have discovered evidence of plastic pollution in the human body (Gut Check: The New Crisis Of Plastic In The Human Body – Opinion, Nov. 10). Our land and water is so polluted with plastic particles, it’s now even found inside us.

It’s estimated that plastic will outweigh the fish in Earth’s oceans by 2050. Wouldn’t it be amazing if humanity could turn food waste into something even more precious than plastic? Maybe we could, say, compost it and turn it back into soil, then food …

Brooks Rapley, Toronto

Targeting guns

Re We Must Criminalize Gun Possession In Canada (Nov. 12): That Canada has the fourth-highest level of gun violence among OECD nations is shocking at best, disgraceful at worst. Canada is, on many fronts, a progressive and forward-looking nation with a reputation as a safe place to live.

Why is it then that Canada’s high rates of gun violence seem to go largely overlooked? Perhaps it’s the tendency to compare our gun-violence rates with those of our American neighbours. When we consider the larger international picture, however, Canada is not even moderately progressive when it comes to gun control.

With the public support for increased gun control, as well as a progressive Liberal-majority federal government, it is surprising that more action hasn’t been taken, especially in light of the rising and tragic handgun violence in Canadian cities. I hope gun control plays a more central role in the upcoming federal election.

Brianna Shrimpton, Guelph, Ont.


Canada has the second-highest rate of gun possession in the developed world? How did this happen?

Sarah O’Connor, Halifax


Questions surrounding the number of guns manufactured, the kinds of guns being made, sold, imported, stolen and used by criminals are not always easily answered, although knowing the answers to those questions is critical for effective gun control laws.

Therefore, the question is really not whether gun control laws would be effective. It is rather if we can accumulate enough data around guns in order to implement effective laws for containing gun violence. Reliable data would also help with establishing the effectiveness of firearms laws.

Ali Orang, Richmond Hill, Ont.


I trust the next item on the agenda after criminalizing the possession of firearms will be to criminalize the possession of vans, trucks and knives – all used to perpetrate deadly attacks on Canadians.

The Criminal Code already has strict penalties to deal with the illegal possession of firearms and their use in crime; the suggested buyback of firearms would cost hundreds of millions of dollars with limited evidence of effectiveness. What the Mosaic Institute’s Vahan Kololian suggests – criminalizing the possession of all firearms – is an overreaction.

David Morgan, Ottawa


Re RIP Truth: You Were Fun While You Lasted (Opinion, Nov. 10): Elizabeth Renzetti is an excellent writer, and this column is stellar. Still, I think she’s wrong when she suggests Reason and Tolerance would drop by to visit Truth with a bottle of bourbon. Reason wouldn’t inhibit his reasoning with alcohol, and Tolerance, with his inherent limits, would only tolerate sobriety.

The mash for bourbon, by definition, must be 51 per cent corn. With that much corn, Humour would instead visit Truth. Humour, feeling wry, would also bring a bottle of rye. He’d invite Homophone to share. Humour and Homophone, now in their cups with lampshades on their heads, would then be visited by Cliché. Truth would leave.

Mel Simoneau, Gatineau, Que.


Elizabeth Renzetti reports that in a macabre turn of events, police found the body of Truth, who died of neglect, being dragged away by a rat which mistook it for pizza.

There was no mention of a funeral or memorial service; whether Truth was cremated or buried remains unclear. Sadly, historians and journalists one hundred years from now may have to dig deep if they are to discover the remains of Truth.

Robin Breon, Weston, Ont.

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