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Taking a moment to reflect and remember

Ottawa, ON – November 10, 2023 – Each Remembrance Day, we take the time to honour the service and sacrifices of those who have dedicated their lives to military service. We remember the more than 100,000 soldiers who lost their lives during various conflicts.

At home and overseas, in times of war and peace, Veterans of all ages and backgrounds are the ones who bravely answered the call to give back to Canada. Veterans’ service is as varied and diverse as Veterans themselves. There are over 450,000 Veterans of all ages with diverse backgrounds and experiences, each with a different story to tell. Some may have served decades ago in the Second World War or the Korean War. Others in the Gulf War or in Somalia, Rwanda or the Balkans in the 1990s, in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014, or more recently in Iraq or Latvia. Veterans have also served on home soil, providing support during natural disasters such as devastating wildfires or floods, as well as in long-term care homes to bring relief to health care workers during the global pandemic. All who have served and since left the Canadian Armed Forces are Veterans, and we recognize and thank them all for their service.

“For some, Remembrance Day is a reminder of personal experience. For others, it is a reminder of the contributions of others to our way of life and freedoms. And with each passing year, it is always a sobering reminder to instruct our youth about the cost of war and the camaraderie of survivors.”

– Tabitha Beynen, Lived Expertise Lead, Veterans, Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families

Our thoughts are also with the countless soldiers who returned home, their lives forever changed by service, with physical and invisible wounds left by things that most of us could never imagine. We also think of their Families who support them through seemingly endless periods of training, exercises and deployment, and whose sacrifices often go without the recognition they deserve.

“On the 11th of November, I want people to take that time – two minutes… it’s not that much. But those two minutes, if you actually spent them reflecting on why we have all these good things around us, then you’re doing it right.”

– Brian McKenna, National Strategic Advisor, Veterans, Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families

Many Canadians ask themselves how they can best honour Veterans and their Families on Remembrance Day and every day of the year. First, on Remembrance Day, we can all take two minutes to pause and reflect on the sacrifices of those who have given so much of themselves for our country. Second, we can listen to their stories and share their experiences. Finally, we can all advocate for improved care and supports for Veterans and their Families.

We will never forget what they have given us, as individuals and as a country.

“For me it helps when people acknowledge that life has been a little bit more difficult at times for us.”

– Polliann Maher, Lived Expertise Lead, Families, Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families

Visit our Veterans’ Week 2023 page to learn more about the different ways to commemorate.