From the department of Veterans Affairs.
First World War (1914-1918)
Approximately 650,000 Canadians served, including members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served with British forces (Newfoundland was a colony of Great Britain until 1949) and merchant mariners. Of this number, nearly 69,000 gave their lives.
Second World War (1939-1945)
More than one million Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in Canada’s Armed Forces, in Allied forces or in the merchant navy; over 47,000 of them gave their lives.
Korean War (1950-1953)
26,791 Canadians served in the Canadian Army Special Force; 516 of them gave their lives.
Approximately 125,000 Canadians have served in peacekeeping missions since 1947; more than 100 Canadians have given their lives in this service.
While we do not always agree with the reasons for war, the outcomes of war, or the death toll and social scarring of war, it is important to remember the dead, civilian or not, and learn from what has transpired. I have spent several Remembrance Day ceremonies in Ottawa and to be there with those veterans is quite the experience. Remembrance Day is not a glorification of war, but a solemn promise that one day the phrase ‘never again’ can be uttered during a lasting peace.
“And I have lived since – as you have – in a period of cold war, during which we have ensured by our achievements in the science and technology of destruction that a third act in this tragedy of war will result in the peace of extinction.”
“As a civilian during the Second War, I was exposed to danger in circumstances which removed any distinction between the man in and the man out of uniform.”
“As a soldier, I survived World War I when most of my comrades did not.”
“It has too often been too easy for rulers and governments to incite man to war.”
“The choice, however, is as clear now for nations as it was once for the individual: peace or extinction.”
“As to the first, I do not know that I have done very much myself to promote fraternity between nations but I do know that there can be no more important purpose for any man’s activity or interests.”
“But while we all pray for peace, we do not always, as free citizens, support the policies that make for peace or reject those which do not. We want our own kind of peace, brought about in our own way.”
“Of all our dreams today there is none more important – or so hard to realise – than that of peace in the world. May we never lose our faith in it or our resolve to do everything that can be done to convert it one day into reality.”
“I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given to participate in that work as a representative of my country, Canada, whose people have, I think, shown their devotion to peace.”
-Lester B. Pearson