When I was 20 years old, in 1989, I was finishing off a degree in Marine Biology, writing for a campus newspaper, and getting involved in student council at university. Sixty years ago, many young Canadian 20-year-old men were sloshing into the waves on the beaches of Normandy, or parachuting in behind enemy lines, to begin the massive offensive that eventually defeated Nazi Germany the next year.
Many of those young men died on the spot, cut down by bullets or bombs or mines, drowned in the sea, or fallen from the sky. When I was 20, I was part man, part boy, and so were those soldiers. The ones who came back to Canada lived their lives and had families and jobs. By 35, they were, on average, well established in careers in the late-'50s boom years. In many ways, they were then very similar to me now.
But of course, I never saved the world.