Every year for Remembrance Day on November 11, we honour those who have served Canada in times of war, military conflict and peace.
Generations of Canadians have served our country and the world during times of war, military conflict and peace. Through their courage and sacrifice, these men and women have helped to ensure that we live in freedom and peace, while also fostering freedom and peace around the world.
Canada’s involvement in the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and Canada’s efforts during military operations and peace efforts has always been fuelled by a commitment to protect the rights of others and to foster peace and freedom. Many Canadians have died for these beliefs, and many others have dedicated their lives to these pursuits. This willingness to stand up to protect human rights, freedom and justice remains one of Canada’s defining characteristics in the eyes of the world.
We encourage all community members to learn more about the sacrifices and achievements made by those who served our country, and to help preserve their legacy by passing the torch of Remembrance to future generations of Canadians.
Every year on November 11, in our schools and in our homes, we pause in a silent moment of remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace.
These wars touched the lives of Canadians of all ages, all races, all social classes. Fathers, sons, daughters, significant others: they were killed in action, they were wounded, and thousands who returned were forced to live the rest of their lives with the physical and mental scars of war. The people who stayed in Canada also served—in factories, in voluntary service organizations, wherever they were needed. Yet for many of us, war is a phenomenon seen through the lens of a television camera or a journalist’s account of fighting in distant parts of the world.
For those of us born during peacetime, all wars seem far removed from our daily lives.
We often take for granted our Canadian values and institutions, our freedom to participate in cultural and political events, and our right to live under a government of our choice. The Canadians who went off to war in distant lands went in the belief that the values and beliefs enjoyed by Canadians were being threatened.
Whom do we remember?
When war has come, time and again Canadians have been quick to volunteer to serve their country. From farms, small towns and large cities across the country, men and women signed up, motivated by reasons like patriotism, ideological belief, family tradition, the seeking of adventure, or just to escape unemployment. They join Canada’s war effort prepared to defend, to care for the wounded, to prepare materials of war, and to provide economic and moral support.
What should we remember?
Formal records tell us about the size and strength of armies, military strategy, and the outcome of battles. Such information is vital, yet to fully appreciate military history we must try to understand the human face of war. Loss of comrades, extreme living conditions, intense training, fear, as well as mental, spiritual and physical hardship helps illuminate what the individual sailor, soldier and airman experienced in battle.
How do we remember?
On November 11, especially, but also throughout the year, we have the opportunity to remember the efforts of these special Canadians. In remembering, we pay homage to those who respond to their country’s needs. On November 11, we pause for two minutes of silent tribute, and we attend commemorative ceremonies in memory of our war dead.
Sources: Veterans Affairs Canada (informational content), Paging Supermom (Poppy image).