An Old Sapper Publishes a Memoire

Towards Life's Sunset - cover
Publication Date 
07 Jan 2021

Ralph De Coste spent over thirty-five years in the Royal Canadian Engineers, serving from sapper to major, from Korea to Chilliwack, before he retired with a barrack box full of memories. He has recently published these memories in a new book, Toward Life's Sunset. In her forward to the book, Senator Yonah Martin writes of the gratitude Canadians, especially those of Korean descent, owe to soldiers like Ralph.  

Congratulations to the author of “Toward Life’s Sunset”, Ralph De Coste: devoted husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. And to millions of people of Korean descent in Canada, Korea and around the world, including me: our hero of the Korean War, to whom we owe our lives. This is a timely memoir as we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean War years starting on June 25, 2020. 

“Toward Life’s Sunset” is a heartfelt memoir and a true labour of love — from inspiration to creation, from revision to translation, to this very publication. It has been an honour to have had the opportunity to preview the memoir and glimpse into not only Ralph’s life (from childhood to the time when he penned the final page), but deep into his heart where his love for family, friends, and perfect strangers overflows. 

Two quotes come to mind as I reflect on the profound impact of Ralph’s memoir that is filled with many names and specific dates of events and moments involving the people in his life. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson poem, “To have succeeded”: “To laugh often, to love know that one life has breathed easier because [they] have lived...” By Emerson’s definition of success, Ralph and his beloved late wife Eva‘s success is beyond measure. 

John 15:13 says: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” How do we then measure the love of one who was willing to die for perfect strangers in a faraway land? Such love is immeasurable. 

I began and end with this: Ralph De Coste is a hero. Having read his memoir, he is indeed not only a hero of the Korean War, willing to sacrifice his life for the cause of peace, but a hero in the truest sense to all who know him. 

There are more details on our Recent Publications page including directions on how to get your own copy.