Remembering Is Something You Do
During Veterans’ Week, November 5th to 11th, I will join Calgarians and people across the country as we pay tribute to all Canadian Veterans. Throughout the week, thousands of commemorative ceremonies and events will take place across our country to honour Canada’s Veterans, current serving members of the Canadian Forces and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. The sacrifices and achievements of our Veterans have helped define and defend Canada’s values of freedom and democracy. They will always be remembered.
Here are some ways to engage in Remembrance: Wear a poppy above your heart, attend local Remembrance Day ceremonies, and vow never to forget; Change your profile picture on Facebook to a poppy and blog or tweet about the importance of remembrance; or listen to Veterans talk about their experiences and thank them for their service. Remembrance IS more than something you think about – it’s something that you do.
Another way to help remember is to find your connections to the past. You can obtain information on where the graves of all Canadian soldiers who died while serving abroad are located. Here’s how to do a search for your connection to the past.
Visit the Veterans Affairs Canadian Virtual War Memorial online at www.virtualmemorial.gc.ca. (If you are looking for an Allied soldier you could also try a similar search through the Commonwealth War Graves Commission at www.cwgc.org as they keep track of all Allied cemeteries.)
Search by name and select the soldier you are looking for. (Keep your search terms broad to yield the best results. This is especially important with first names or common misspellings of names.)
Review the results of the search. When available, it will include photos, a copy of the page from the Book of Remembrance, vital personal details and possibly even a summary of the circumstances surrounding the soldier’s death.
A quick Google search using the name of the cemetery often yields a link to photos of all the tombstones, lists of those buried (alphabetical and regimental) and a good description of the cemetery itself. Please don’t consider the Veterans Affairs Canadian Virtual War Memorial as the only possible source of information and don’t underestimate the power of a good online search engine like Google.
Share your findings and experiences with others in a gesture of Remembrance. I would be interested to hear from anyone who uses this process and finds it as rewarding as I have.