Alex Polowin was only a teenager when the Second World War began.

When he heard of the Nazi invasion across Europe, Polowin, who immigrated to Canada as a baby, felt compelled to join the fight.

He lied about his age and enlisted in the navy, serving on Canadian warships from 1942 to 1945.

Yesterday, Polowin, who settled in Ottawa after the war, recounted his wartime story to a room full of Second World War veterans and local students at the Chateau Laurier.

Recounting VE Day, he said, “Wow, what a feeling.”

Polowin was one of two local veterans who shared their stories of service and sacrifice to mark the 65th anniversary of the Victory in Europe and to raise awareness of The Memory Project: Stories of the Second World War.

The project is offering every living Second World War veteran the opportunity to share their stories of service and sacrifice, said Marc Chalifoux, executive vice-president of the Historica-Dominion Institute, which is organizing the project.

“We are interviewing thousands of veterans from coast to coast to coast. We’re digitizing their photos, their medals, their diaries and we’re making it all available on the state-of-the-art website for now, and for generations to come.”

“For a lot of these veterans, talking about these experiences ... isn’t an easy thing to do,” said Heritage Minister James Moore.

“But they do it because they want to make sure the experiences they had are understood so they never have to go down that road again.”

“Future generations must never forget the heroism of our ancestors,” said Laureen Harper.

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