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Ahead of his 100th birthday, Maj.-Gen. Richard Rohmer has no plans of slowing down


He may be nearing his centennial birthday, but Retired Maj.-Gen. Richard Rohmer isn't exactly slowing down.

A little over two months from his 100th birthday, Canada's most decorated military veteran recently penned his latest piece of fiction, a tale about Moscow striving to invade the Canadian Arctic.

"I'm very well. I'm moving slower than I used to, that's for sure, but for my age, my seniority, I'm doing very well," General Rohmer said to CTV News during an interview in his Collingwood, Ont. condo.

Netherlands King Willem-Alexander and Second World War veteran General Richard Rohmer share a laugh as they make their way from a ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 27, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The General has been a major part of Canadian culture and the country's national interests for the better part of the last century.

The General, as he's called even by his closest loved ones, was just a young man when he served overseas in the Second World War, playing pivotal roles on D-Day and in the Battle of Normandy.

While he was shot at many times while flying in the Royal Canadian Air Force over his 135 missions, his plane was only hit once.

"The Air Force has been my heart and soul from the beginning," said General Rohmer. "I joined the Air Force on my 18th birthday and wound up doing 135 missions at the age of 19 and 20, and I survived."

President of France Emmanuel Macron shakes hands with Canadian Lt.-Gen. Richard Rohmer after speaking during the D-Day 75th Anniversary British International Commemorative Event at Southsea Common in Portsmouth, England on Wednesday, June 5, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

While he's received countless honours over his decades in public service, perhaps the most significant is the Distinguished Flying Cross in recognition of his successful reconnaissance missions.

The General still wears those medals proudly on his military jacket in his various roles honorary roles, including Honorary Chief of Toronto Paramedic Services and the Honorary Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.

General Rohmer takes great pride in participating in award and graduation ceremonies for the next generation of public servants.

He always delivers the same message.

"Canada has all its problems and all its difficulties and its shortcomings, but in terms of places to live, this is the finest country in the world in which to live, and they believe me," the General said.

Georgian College President and CEO, MaryLynn West-Moynes (R), present General Richard Rohmer (C) with an honorary degree on Tues., June 18, 2019 (CTV News/Sean Grech)

In addition to his incomparable career in the military, the General also proudly remembers his successful law practice. Specializing in land development, the General played a pivotal role in rezoning lands in downtown Toronto, which paved the way for the construction of the C.N. Tower. His law firm also played a pivotal role in the development of the Ontario Science Centre.

Over the years, he has penned well over two dozen books, both fiction and non-fiction.

As a frequent representative of Canada on the world stage, the General has met and known many world leaders, including prime ministers, presidents and the British Royal family.

He fondly recalls his many interactions with King Charles III before his coronation last year.

Canadian Major-General Richard Rohmer, center, arrives for a church service prior to a parade in Wageningen, Netherlands, Tuesday May 5, 2015. (AP / Vincent Jannink)

The General helped organize various D-Day commemoration ceremonies, where he often interacted with the then-Prince of Wales.

"I'm very old in terms of living long, so I've been exceptionally fortunate to have the opportunity to meet a whole bunch of people," the General said.

"I take the opportunity as each one goes by. I don't wait for anybody to say it's okay. I want to talk to him or her, whatever the case may be, and it's always worked."

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks with Major-General Richard Rohmer as he walks through the Canadian military cemetery Friday June 6, 2014 in Beny-sur-Mer, France. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Order of Canada recipient now lives in Collingwood with his beloved 13-year-old Yorkie-Poo Charlie, a companion he cannot imagine his life without.

"This morning, he got on my lap, Charlie, and sat there, and he licked my nose at least 15 times! But he's very important to me, as you can tell."

This Remembrance Day, the General has accepted Premier Doug Ford's invitation to attend a ceremony held at Queen's Park.

Next year, as he turns 100, he also looks forward to marking the 100th anniversary of his beloved RCAF, a connection he's forever grateful for. Top Stories

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