To Canadian Youth
Approximately 620,000 Canadians enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), the Royal Canadian Navy and in other forces such as the Royal Flying Corps/Royal Air Force during the First World War. Many thousands more served in in the merchant marine and in support organizations.
More than 66,000 died and close to 130,000 were wounded. Almost every Canadian family was impacted by the war in a major way.
While we have many forms of monuments to the memory of Canadians involved in and impacted by wars, the principle legacy of their courage, bravery and sacrifice lives on through the stories of their experiences before, during and after each conflict.
So, what relevance do these stories from a hundred years ago have to the young women and men of today?
We hope and pray that you will never have to experience a major conflict or war and the almost unimaginable hardships encountered a hundred years ago by young people who were very much like you. But, there is no way of knowing what the future will bring and there will surely be times in your personal, community and working lives when you will be faced with very difficult situations — situations where you may doubt your ability to succeed.
If you learn and absorb the stories of the hardships faced — and the sacrifices made — in conflicts and wars by young people the same age or slightly older than you, then …
when a situation arises where you have to gather all your strength, courage, determination and will to do the right thing …
you will remember them …
and that memory will inspire you and help you prevail.