Tofino local Whitey Bernard smiles beside the ‘Wait for me Daddy’ photo that made him famous. Claude P. Detloff took the photograph of Whitey running towards his war-bound father down a New Westminster.

Tofino local Whitey Bernard smiles beside the ‘Wait for me Daddy’ photo that made him famous. Claude P. Detloff took the photograph of Whitey running towards his war-bound father down a New Westminster.

Behest of the West: Remember the sacrifice and keep our heroes home

‘Wait for me Daddy’ is iconic because it’s a real and powerful image.

His mom had spiffed him up into an adorably dapper little gentleman. It was an important day.

The all-grown-up ensemble aside, he was still only five years old and, when he saw his father marching down the street, he naturally took chase begging him to wait up.

Taken out of context, it was a delightful image for newspaper photographer Claude P. Dettloff, working for The Province at the time, to capture.

With his mother close behind, and racing to restrain him, the cherubic Whitey Bernard’s little arm is stretched out towards his father, who is smiling in his soldier’s uniform and reaching back towards his son. It’s not a happy photo. A family is being sacrificed for war.

‘Wait for me Daddy’ is iconic because it’s a real and powerful image. People cry when they see it. Behind the elder Bernard is a seemingly infinite single-file line of soldiers marching down a steep-hilled road in New Westminster. Beside them, families are clustered metres away. They could not stop their heroic husbands, sons and fathers from going.

They could not hold them. They could not know when they would see them again. Imagine trying to keep a stiff upper lip of support in that moment. Whitey’s plea did not fall on deaf ears. Canada and the world heard it as Detloff’s photo became an instant icon that was promoted around the globe. Young Whitey became the star of bond drives; a celebrity who was shuttled from event to event to bring hope to Canada’s war efforts. Stardom was not his pursuit when he broke free from his mother’s grasp that morning in New West. He was chasing a father who loved him, but could not wait for him.

It’s a famous moment that doesn’t need words to tell the story of sacrifice. Whitey saw his dad just once over the next five years and, when he finally returned for good, he was not the same man who had left. That story is still very relevant today. Families are still being sacrificed and children are wishing mommies and daddies had waited for them.

Recent news suggests some may have forgotten the sacrifice. Saudi Arabia is claiming Lebanon declared war against it this week and America’s president is speaking alarmingly loosely about the possibility of war with North Korea.

On Saturday, we’ll pray that our Remembrance will keep our heroes home. It’s an important day.

Just Posted

A shot from within Leah McDiarmid’s new gallery shows a sneak peak at June 13’s opening exhibit. (Leah McDiarmid photo)
New gallery promises engaging experience in Tofino

Tofino Gallery of Contemporary Art unveils inaugural exhibit on June 13

Louise Rodgers and Georgina Valk cup a handful of freshly sifted, nutrient-rich compost. The duo met about 10 years ago while their kids were in kindergarten. They saw a need for composting in Tofino so they founded Tofino Urban Farm Co. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Tofino moms turn mounds of organic waste into “Black Gold”

Curbside residential and commercial compost pickup to begin in 2022 for West Coasters

Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks thanks Tofino businesses for becoming allies

Businesses say they can play a part in reconciliation by supporting Indigenous stewardship

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Ucluelet mayor and council will wait until further in-person engagement can take place before making their final approval regarding the draft OCP that went to public hearing on May 13. (District of Ucluelet photo)
Future public input session planned for Ucluelet’s draft OCP

“A couple little changes and some housekeeping items and we’ll get to it in September”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read