This Week I am presenting two special Thursday Thirteen lists in Honour of Veterans' Week (November 5-11) and Remembrance Day (November 11th)
13 Conflicts Past and Present in which Canadians Have Served
- The First World War - During the First World War, 60,383 Canadians lost their lives, 155,799 were wounded, and there were 1,630 civilians killed (in the Halifax Harbour explosion). Many historians believe that Canada became a nation, separate from Great Britain, with the Battle of Vimy Ridge in the First World War
- The Second World War - Canada’s participation in the Second World War was a massive effort involving millions of Canadians from coast to coast. Nearly 47,000 Canadians died and nearly 55,000 were seriously wounded between 1939 and 1945.
- The Korean War - 26,791 Canadians served in the Korean war, 516 died, and 1,558 were wounded. Another 7,000 served in the theatre between the cease-fire and the end of 1955.
- First and Second United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF I and UNEF II) - Canadian Forces members took part in the United Nations (UN) peace missions in the Gaza strip and the Sinai peninsula of Egypt between 1956 and 1967, and again from 1973 to 1979.
- United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus - The Canadian mission to Cyprus lasted 29 years, making it one of the longest overseas commitments in which Canada has ever participated. In total, more than 25,000 Canadian Forces members served in Cyprus over the decades.
- Operation DANACA UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) Golan Heights - Between 1974 and 2006 over 12,000 soldiers, sailors and air personnel served in the Golan Heights.
- Persian Gulf War (Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm) and United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission - More than 4,000 Canadian Forces personnel served in the tense Persian Gulf region in 1990-91, as part of the international coalition of countries that came together to force the invading forces of Iraq out of neighbouring Kuwait. In the aftermath of the conflict, Canadians continued to serve in peacekeeping and embargo-enforcement efforts in the region. My human dad served a tour of duty in Kuwait during the first Gulf War.
- United Nations Support Mission in Haiti (UNSMIH) - My human dad is one of the many Canadians who served a six-month peacekeeping tour in Haiti. He was one of the Canadian Forces engineers who "brought their expertise in road maintenance, mine disposal, water supply and power generation to the peace support efforts."
- Operation HARMONY - United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR)
Balkan Region - More than 2,000 Canadian Forces personnel served in the Balkan region with UNPROFOR and one of its successor missions, the United Nations Peace Forces Headquarters (UNPF).
- Operation PALLADIUM - NATO Stabilization Force (SFOR) The Balkans - Again, my human dad was one of the many Canadians who served a six-month tour of duty in the Balkans. More than 40,000 Canadians served in Bosnia-Herzegovina and twenty-five Canadians lost their lives while serving there.
- Operation TOUCAN International Force in East Timor (INTERFET) and United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) - 600 Canadian Forces personnel served in East Timor.
- Operation ECLIPSE - United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) - This is another peacekeeping tour that my human dad did. This one was particularly rough on my human mom, because he was gone over Christmas. My human dad was one of the first officers and soldiers to go over, because he was among the engineers setting up the camp. When they arrived, there was nothing but an empty field, and they had to build everything from scratch. They were living in pup-tents and burning their waste while they set up the camp. On Christmas Day, it is traditional for Canadian officers to do many the soldiers' duties, to give the soldiers the day off. So my dad spent that Christmas burning human waste (this was before they had the sewer system for the camp set up) and ate a "boil a bag" meal. This was also during their first month of the tour, so they didn't have any phone or computer access yet. They only had the satellite phone for emergencies. So my mom couldn't even talk to him at Christmas. Once the camp was set up, around mid-January, she started hearing from him almost every day via email, and once a week by phone. But that Christmas was hard for her.
- OP ATHENA - Afghanistan - The Canadian contribution to the NATO led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) - There are currently 2,286 troops serving in Operation Athena and close to 10,000 Canadians have served in Afghanistan since 2002. 71 Canadians (70 military and one diplomat) have lost their lives in Afghanistan, including Captain Nichola Goddard, the first woman in Canadian history killed in a combat role and the first female member of the Canadian military killed in combat since the Second World War.
- Pause for the "2-Minute Wave of Silence" at 11:00 a.m. on November 11 for the men and women who served our country during wartime.
- Attend commemorative ceremonies at the local cenotaph.
- Watch the national Remembrance Day services on television and remember that the National War Memorial in Ottawa is dedicated to those who served in time of war.
- Wear a poppy in tribute to the men and women who sacrificed their lives for freedom.
- Plan a candlelight tribute to commemorate a special anniversary with one of the regiments, air force groups or naval associations in your area. Visit Veterans Affairs Canada's Web site for links to Veterans' groups and organizations.
- Spread the word about Veterans' Week.
- Organize a lunchtime discussion on how the wars still have an impact on our lives today.
- Encourage your local public library or archives, both important resources for community history, to create a display of wartime memorabilia (for example, photographs, uniforms, badges, military medals and decorations, diaries) in your office complex.
- Hold a series of readings during the Week on books by or about Veterans and the wars.
- Organize a walking tour of historic sites related to Veterans' achievements in your community, for example businesses, hospitals, museums, grave sites, etc.
- Contact your local Royal Canadian Legion Branch, local historical or genealogical society, the history department at a nearby university or community college, or local Veterans' groups for information and speakers. Bookmark Veterans Affairs Canada's Web site for links to Veterans' organizations.
- Visit a Veterans' residence, senior citizens' residence or nursing home to talk to older men and women about their lives and experiences during times of war.
- Ask your local school board, a trustee or teachers to use the school resources provided free each year by Veterans Affairs Canada in the classroom.
and for those currently serving:
Get in touch with a member of the Canadian Forces either in Canada or overseas. All the addresses for Canadian Forces bases and overseas operations are listed on the National Defence Web site at Write to the Troops.