Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remembrance Day 2008

About the Poster:
The Veterans' Week 2008 poster captures and pays tribute to Canada's service men and women who have served this national from the First World War to current missions. The images seen in the foreground feature Canadian Forces members on a training exercise before leaving for the international mission in Afghanistan. The central image shows a soldier departing for the Second World War saying a poignant goodbye to his five-year-old son. The soldier featured in the background on the left of the poster is a First World War medic. November 11, 2008 marks the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
General Statistics

Canada at War: Participation and Casualties

South Africa War (1899-1902)
Approximately 7,000 Canadians served; 267 of them gave their lives. They are commemorated in the South African War / Nile Expedition Book of Remembrance.

First World War (1914-1918)
Approximately 650,000 Canadians served, including members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served with British forces (Newfoundland was a colony of Great Britain until 1949) and merchant mariners. Of this number, more than 68,000 gave their lives. They are commemorated in the First World War Book of Remembrance.

Second World War (1939-1945)
More than one million Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in Canada's Armed Forces, in Allied forces or in the merchant navy; over 47,000 of them gave their lives. They are commemorated in the Second World War Book of Remembrance.

Note: The Newfoundland Book of Remembrance commemorates the men and women of Newfoundland who gave their lives in defence of freedom during both the First and Second World Wars - before Newfoundland became a province of Canada on April 1, 1949. And the Merchant Navy Book of Remembrance commemorates the men and women of the Merchant Marine who gave their lives while serving Canada at sea during both the First World War and the Second World War.

Korean War (1950-1953)
26,791 Canadians served in the Canadian Army Special Force; 516 of them gave their lives. They are commemorated in the Korean War Book of Remembrance.

Peacekeeping/Foreign Military Operations (as of March 2006)
Approximately 150,000 Canadians have served in peacekeeping missions/foreign military operations since 1947; more than 160 Canadians have given their lives in this service. They are commemorated in the Seventh Book of Remembrance, In Service to Canada.

In-Canada Operations (since October 1947, with the exception of the Korean War)
More than a million Canadians have served during the post-war years and of those, more than 1,400 have given their lives in the service of Canada during domestic operations. They are commemorated in the Seventh Book of Remembrance, In Service to Canada.

*Source: Books of Remembrance

* Estimated Veteran Population as of March 2008

First World War
Veterans Affairs Canada is aware of 1 Canadian Veteran of the First World War.

Second World War
184,110 (including 23,890 females); their average age is 85.

Korean War
13,340 (including 1,450 females); their average age is 76.

CF Veterans (Regular Forces and Primary Reserves)
589,060; their average age is 54

From "Canada Remembers"

As most people in Canada today have never experienced war, "Remembrance" becomes a challenging concept to incorporate. How do you remember what you haven't known? Some have been fortunate to have had relatives; grandparents, aunts, uncles, great-grand parents, who shared their stories of war and peace. Some, our newer Canadians, have sought Canada as a new home, safe from their own war-torn motherlands. We have all studied some Canadian history in schools. But the vast majority of us, especially the youth, have no first hand or even second hand knowledge of war. And thankfully so. But we can come to understand and appreciate what those who have served Canada in times of war, armed conflict and peace stand for and what they have sacrificed for their country.

We live in a wonderful country, full of opportunities and freedoms we often take for granted. You can be sure that Canadian Veterans do not take our situation for granted. Young men and women sacrificed all they knew, all the comforts, love and safety of home in order to defend the rights and freedoms of others. Some returned with permanent physical and emotional scars, bound to haunt them for the rest of their lives. Others never returned. Veterans know the price paid for our freedom and they want all Canadians to share in this understanding. In fact, now, more than ever, they are passing the torch of remembrance to us, to the people of Canada, to ensure that the memory of their efforts and sacrifices will not die with them, and that an appreciation of the values they fought for will live on in all Canadians.

Canadians have a reputation of being a peace loving nation, and this has been demonstrated time and time again when we have engaged in combat and peacekeeping operations for the sake of protecting humans rights, freedom and justice around the world. When you think of Canadian efforts in war and peace you come to realize that our desire to help was never motivated by greed, power or threats. It was in and of itself, a desire to protect human rights, all humans' rights.

So, although many of us cannot actually "remember," we owe it to those who have served to learn, to understand, and to appreciate the task they have undertaken. Generations of Canadian Veterans, through their courage, determination and sacrifice have helped to ensure that we live in a free and peaceful country. If we can understand this, how can we not pause and say "thank you" in remembrance of such an accomplishment?

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