A day that touches every generation
Special report: remembrance day canadians can honour those who served in several ways
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.
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.
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.
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.