He’s 7, great-granddad is 107. Watch the young YouTuber get the WW II vet’s take on Remembrance Day | CBC News
Nathan Donald and his great-grandfather Burdett Sisler might be 100 years apart in age, but they’ve formed a close bond, and this Remembrance Day has only brought them closer together.
“Nathan really looks up to big grandpa and definitely saw a different side of him, being able to have some one-on-one time like that and ask his own questions,” Cam Donald, Nathan’s father and Sisler’s grandson-in-law, told CBC.
Seven-year-old Nathan interviewed Sisler, 107, about Remembrance Day, his service in the Second World War and what life was like a century ago.
Sisler, who lives in Fort Erie, Ont., is one of Canada’s oldest surviving war veterans.
Nathan and his family uploaded the roughly five-minute video onto his YouTube channel, where he’s interviewed other people, including the former mayor of St. Catharines, Ont.
‘Remember the fellas that went to war’
“This isn’t any ordinary video because I’m interviewing my great-grandpa who is 107 and fought in World War II,” Nathan says to start the video.
“Grandpa, why is Remembrance Day so important?”
“You should remember the fellas that went to war. You should give thanks to those who gave their lives so you could have a good time here in Canada,” Sisler responds.
Sisler was born in Akron, Ohio, on April 14, 1915, in the middle of the First World War.
His family moved to the Toronto suburb of Etobicoke at age three, the same year the Spanish flu hit.
In the video, Nathan asks Sisler what life was like when he was seven and what kind of games he played growing up.
“At seven years old, it was 1922, the war had been finished for four years, but it was tough sledding in a sense that prices of stuff had gone up according to the times,” Sisler said.
“But we managed somehow or other. There was always lots of food and the food was inexpensive. You could get a loaf of bread for a couple of cents,” he said, adding that kids his age played games like tag.
Sisler joined the Royal Canadian Armed Forces when he was 28.
- CBC News will be marking Remembrance Day on Friday with special coverage from Ottawa, starting at 10 a.m. ET. Find all the details here.
Nathan’s dad said Sisler served in the Second World War as a radar technician and technical sergeant.
“I wasn’t really in where all the fighting and shooting was, but I had to help them with the radar so they could get down to where people were going or coming,” Sisler told his great-grandson in the YouTube interview. “They could tell when a plane left Germany before it even came anywhere near England.
“I was more or less safe where I was, but the people flying the planes were doing all the work. My job was more or less just to back up. It wasn’t much, it wasn’t hard work, but of course it was dangerous work.”
After serving in the Second World War, Sisler moved to Fort Erie and has lived there ever since, working a number of jobs, including 30 years with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
His family includes five children, 11 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and nine great-great-grandchildren.
His wife Mae passed away in 1985.
Sisler was living on his own until last year, when he moved into a retirement home, according to Donald.
Interview ‘inspiring’ other kids
Cam said Sisler is passionate about Remembrance Day.
“He tried to explain to Nathan, imagine having all your friends and then you go away for a while and then none of them are there … and Nathan kind of took it really to heart about how different it was back then.”
Cam said the interview was posted to Facebook and some teachers who saw it shared the video in their classes.
“Some of the comments on Facebook were around the kids asking lots of questions about what Burdett did in the war and wanting to know more,” he said.
He also said Nathan’s school will play the video at its Remembrance Day ceremony.
“It was neat to see Nathan’s work was actually inspiring to other kids.”
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