A day that touches ev­ery gen­er­a­tion

Spe­cial re­port: re­mem­brance day cana­di­ans can hon­our those who served in sev­eral ways

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Front Page - Nina Drag­ice­vic

Ev­ery year the faces change, get­ting both older and younger at the same time.

A Cana­dian veteran may be a man in his ‘90s who served in the Se­cond World War, or a young woman who toured Afghanistan — both carry with them ex­pe­ri­ences few other Cana­di­ans un­der­stand, both are liv­ing re­mem­brances of those that never came home.

“Ev­ery gen­er­a­tion has its vet­er­ans,” says Brad White, do­min­ion sec­re­tary and ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion, Do­min­ion Com­mand. “I’m a ‘Cold War­rior’ my­self — I spent 23 years in the mil­i­tary.

“But there is a new group of vet­er­ans that are out there,” he says. “I’m push­ing 60-odd years old right now and these (men and women) are 19, 20, or in their early 20s … Most of them prob­a­bly spent more time on the front lines than any­body did in World War II, or Korea, or even on a peace-sup­port mis­sion.”

These ser­vice mem­bers spent years away from home in dan­ger­ous or tragic cir­cum­stances — some re­turned with in­juries or trauma and some gave their lives. No matter the gen­er­a­tion or era, says Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Min­is­ter Sea­mus O’re­gan, Cana­di­ans are in­debted to the ser­vice and sac­ri­fice of our armed forces.

While we hon­our Re­mem­brance Day each year the pas­sage of time also brings new an­niver­saries and mile­stones. Veteran Af­fairs Canada, the De­part­ment of Na­tional De­fence and the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion of­fer Cana­di­ans ad­di­tional ways to pay their re­spects this Re­mem­brance Day:

Do­nate Izzy dolls

In June 1994, while re­mov­ing land­mines on his third peace­keep­ing tour, Master Cpl. Mark Is­feld was killed in Croa­tia when a mine ex­ploded. He was al­most 32 years old.

Is­feld’s death cre­ated a poignant phe­nom­e­non among Canada’s mil­i­tary and hu­man­i­tar­ian groups — more than 1.5 mil­lion soft wool dolls, named ‘Izzy dolls’ in his hon­our, have been given to chil­dren all over the world.

#Canadare­mem­bers

Use this hashtag on so­cial me­dia to con­nect, en­gage and learn from fel­low Cana­di­ans.

write to the troops

On the De­part­ment of Na­tional De­fence web­site, you can post an on­line mes­sage for the troops, as well as browse mes­sages other Cana­di­ans have sent.

Visit forces.gc.ca/en/write-tothe-troops/in­dex.page.

Join the Le­gion

“We en­cour­age peo­ple to become en­gaged with their branches and their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties be­cause that’s re­ally where the rub­ber hits the road,” White says, “sup­port­ing your com­mu­nity and the peo­ple in your com­mu­nity.”

You don’t have to be a veteran to join the Le­gion — visit le­gion. ca/join for de­tails.

Photo cour­tesy of shirley o’con­nell

More than 1.5 mil­lion soft wool dolls — named ‘Izzy dolls’ after Master Cpl. Mark Is­feld — have been given to chil­dren all over the world.

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