What’s the story behind the bomber?

Why the Lancaster bomber?

Rest assured, it’s not because I seek to blow things up!

Vulcan County has a direct and significant connection to one of the most famous air raids of the Second World War.

The lead navigator for the entire Dam Busters Raid–the hero who lead Squadron 617 to the German dams and got them home again–was a graduate of Milo School. His family homesteaded west of Milo on the northern boundary of what is now Division 6.

While he was killed in action following this mission at the age of 23, Torger Harlo (Terry) Taerum epitomizes the spirit of liberty and freedom that overcomes adversity in the face of great odds. His father, Guttorm Taerum, had tragically drowned in Lake McGregor when Terry was a boy. Despite this tragedy, Hilda Taerum, Terry, and his siblings carried on the family farm for as long as they could, and Terry managed to finish High School with distinction.

While I first read about Terry Taerum as a kid, as a member of the Milo Lions Club I now have the honour of mowing around his father’s grave in the Hope Lutheran Cemetery. I remain fascinated by the young navigator from rural Alberta who recognized what was at stake for his country in the war. He exercised courage. He deployed intelligence and perseverance in pursuit of victory.
History tells important stories and heroic actions teach life lessons.

Those of us who now live where Terry Taerum grew up should follow his example, NAVIGATING our communities toward a better tomorrow with courage, intelligence and perseverance.

The best way to honour the immigrants who settled this country, founded the communities that we enjoy today, and gave up their sons and daughters to a historic struggle for our liberty, is to continue their legacy of growing healthy communities for the prosperity of those who live here.

The picture below is of Wing Commander Guy Gibson and his crew. Terry Taerum is on the right-hand side of the picture.

Overcoming Fear

Next month we will mark Remembrance Day on November 11th.

I pray that this November we will remember, maybe with deeper feeling than we have in recent years, the sacrifices that have been made over the long history of our constitutional system of government so that we might remain free from tyranny.

Whether it be the recent war in Afghanistan or the great struggle of World War Two that was endured by parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, those who give up their lives in war are overwhelmingly young, capable and possessing of hope for the future. They sacrifice everything because they appreciate that fear limits our potential and prevents us from living fully as free-born citizens of a great country.

In keeping with our local connection to Terry Taerum and the daring Dambusters Raid, the following is a very clear interview with Wing Commander Guy Gibson from 78 years ago. It provides a window into the mindset of young men and women at war, into why we cannot afford to let fear govern our actions when the cost is the very system of laws that enshrine individual human dignity, due process, and the rule of law.

Another Individual who Epitomizes the Spirit of Vulcan County: Rosella Bjornson