Lest We Forget

Today is a day for remembering. For remembering all those who have given their lives in the service of their country … in wars both past and present.

For 200 students from 32 schools from all across Canada this will be a particularly special day. They have been raising money for the Canadian War Museum’s Operation Veteran program and will be in Ottawa for a special Remembrance Day visit. That visit will include a meeting with Operation Veteran founder, Dr. Paul Kavanagh; a visit to the War Memorial to pay their respects; a tour of the War Museum; and a meeting with veterans.

For those who don’t know, Operation Veteran was established in 2009 by Dr. Kavanagh in association with the Canadian War Museum and since that time, it has raised more than $290,000.

Those funds allow the Museum to offer complimentary meals to all Canadian veterans visiting the museum, while increasing young peoples’ awareness of Canada’s military history and strengthening their appreciation for veterans.

To date, the Canadian War Museum has provided more than 8,000 vouchers and has engaged thousands of students in every province and territory.

Mark O’Neill, president and CEO of the Canadian War Museum and the Canadian Museum of History observed of the program that: “The enduring popularity of Operation Veteran is a testament both to the respect that Canadians of all ages continue to hold for those who have served their country, and to Dr. Kavanagh’s remarkable dedication to this very worthwhile cause. We are proud of the role we play in building bridges between generations through positive programs that actively engage students and honour veterans.”

Dr. Kavanagh noted that: “Operation Veteran is an important program that contributes to today’s students’ understanding of our veterans’ sacrifices. I am so pleased to continue to support this program and see it grow year after year.”

Along with bringing students to Ottawa and to the War Museum, Operation Veteran continues to support Supply Line, an initiative that lends First World War Discovery Boxes to schools across Canada, free of charge.

These learning kits, developed by the Museum, contain authentic and reproduction artifacts related to Canadian military history, along with other resources teachers can use to lead engaging hands-on activities and lessons.

Being able to examine and handle objects from the First World War, such as a soldier’s helmet, a gas mask, shrapnel bullets or a nursing sister’s apron, gives young people a tangible way to understand a long-ago war and to connect with the past on a very personal level.

Hundreds of teachers have taken the opportunity to borrow Supply Line Discovery Boxes since they were first made available in 2014. The kits are now fully booked for the 2015-16 school year.

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national and international dimensions. Go to http://www.warmuseum.ca

Today’s Photo provided courtesy of the Canadian War Museum – CREDIT: Poppy CWM 19720228-001 Canadian War Museum