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Veterans’ Week 2023: Pausing to remember

In times of war and peace, countless Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members serve and have served Canada at home and around the world, on land, at sea and in the air. Far too many have made the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of peace and freedom for all. Many of those who made it home have returned with visible and invisible wounds, their lives forever changed.

Veterans’ service is as varied and diverse as Veterans themselves. They have served on multiple missions and campaigns such as the Second World War, Korean War and participated in peacekeeping and peace support operations. More recent operations include Afghanistan (2001–2014) and current missions in Latvia and Iraq. At home, Veterans have served on a multitude of domestic operations, including the response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic by bringing aid and support to long-term care facilities, as well as Operation LENTUS, the CAF’s response to natural disasters. All who have served are Veterans once they leave the CAF, and we recognize and thank them all for their service.

As we mark the start of Veterans’ Week 2023, we remember those who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country. We commemorate them by sharing their stories and experiences. We honour the Veterans who are still among us, including those who now live with posttraumatic stress injuries and other physical, emotional and moral injuries as a result of their courageous service.

Our thoughts are also with the military and Veteran Families who have lost loved ones. Families play a vital role in providing care for serving and Veteran CAF members, and we honour them as well.

This Veterans’ Week and every day, we invite you to take a short pause — at a minimum two minutes — to reflect on how Veterans have given us the life and freedoms we know.

A few ways to observe Veterans’ Week

Veterans’ Week 2023 video: On this Veterans’ Week and Remembrance Day, we ask ourselves how best to honour Veterans and their Families today and every day of the year. The answer is quite simple: listen to their stories, learn from their experiences, take the time to pause and reflect, and never forget what each Veteran and their Family have given to us, as individuals and as a country.

View our new video in honour of Veterans’ Week 2023:

B16-Ex ALLIED SPIRIT V-006, Operation REASSURANCE. Hohenfels, Germany, October 8, 2016. Camera: Master Corporal True-dee McCarthy

Canadian Armed Forces members deployed on Operation LENTUS clear debris caused by Hurricane Fiona, in Burnt Islands, Newfoundland, September 30, 2022. Photo credit: Corporal Braden Trudeau, Canadian Armed Forces Imagery Technician
© 2022 DND-MDN Canada

Canadian Armed Forces members of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia move to engage United States Army 1-506th Infantry Regiment “Red Currahee”, 1st Infantry 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) acting as opposition forces during Exercise SILVER ARROW 2023 at Camp Ādaži, Latvia on 26 September, 2023. Photo: Captain Joffray Provencher, eFP BG Latvia Public Affairs and Imagery Section
© 2023 DND-MDN Canada

Lieutenant-General Rouleau presents a medal to an Operation PRESENCE-Mali member during the United Nations medals parade at Camp Castor in Gao, Mali on December 8, 2018. Photo credit: Corporal Ken Beliwicz. TM01-2018-0144-147
© 2018 DND-MDN Canada

Members of the Canadian Grenadier Guards (CGG) decontaminate a corridor in the Jeanne-Le Ber long-term care centre (CHSLD) in Montreal, Quebec during Operation LASER on 17 June 2020. Photo: Corporal Marc-André Leclerc
© 2020 DND-MDN Canada

Operation DISTINCTION, B-16-OPDISTINCTION-001. Centennial of Beaumont-Hamel and the Battle of Somme. Beaumont-Hamel, France, July 1, 2016. Camera: Master Corporal Darcy Lefebvre

Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry fill sandbags to build barriers against the coming flood waters during Operation LENTUS in the Yukon on July 10, 2021. Photo credit: Corporal Rachael Allen, Canadian Forces Combat Camera, Canadian Armed Forces photo
© 2021 DND-MDN Canada

Reproductions of DND/CAF photos are copies of an official Work that is published by DND/CAF. They have not been produced in affiliation with, or the endorsement of, DND/CAF.

  • Holding our breath — Creating a sacred space for remembrance: Read a blog post by Blackfoot artist Adrian Stimson who reflects on his experience in Afghanistan as part of the Canadian Forces Artists Program.
  • Ways to remember: From watching, listening to and reading Veteran stories, to organizing and attending commemorative events, this article shares various ideas for actively participating in remembering the sacrifices and achievements of the Canadians who served and continue to serve our country at home and abroad.
  • Military history resources: Explore Canada’s proud military history by visiting one of Canada’s military and aviation museums, downloading educational resources, or browsing online exhibits and photo galleries.
  • Indigenous Veterans Day: On November 8, join in honouring and giving thanks for the service and legacy of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Veterans.
  • Remembrance Day ceremonies: On Remembrance Day, November 11, attend the 2023 National Remembrance Day Ceremony in person at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, or watch the ceremony live on TV or online. You can also find the closest local Remembrance Day ceremony in your community using the Royal Canadian Legion’s event locator tool.

Helpful information for Veterans and Families

Veterans’ Week is the start of a season that can be challenging for some Veterans and Veteran Family members. Here are some resources that are available for Veterans and Families:

  • Directory of services: List of resources and supports for military members, Veterans, and their Families, including links to crisis services, counselling and therapy, educational tools and peer support.
  • Managing holiday stress: This downloadable PDF shares some tips to help Veterans and Veteran Family members manage the stress of the holiday season.