Every year on November 11, Remembrance Day, Canadians take the time to honour the brave men and women who have served our country in the past and those who continue to serve today. Remembrance Day was first observed throughout the British Commonwealth as Armistice Day in 1919 to commemorate the armistice that brought the first Great War to an end at 11:00 AM on November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month).
Canadian soldiers have been called upon many times since then to continue to protect and defend our rights and freedoms in a multitude of conflicts since that first Armistice Day. The most notable have been WWII, the Korean War, the Persian Gulf War, and the Afghanistan War. Canadian soldiers have also participated in numerous peacekeeping missions in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.
More than 2,300,000 brave Canadian service members have served throughout our country’s history; regrettably, more than 118 000 didn’t make it home. Traditional Remembrance Day ceremonies include two minutes of silence meant to honour and remember these soldiers, as well as our veterans and current active soldiers. And to reflect on their sacrifices.
Today’s Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) continue to serve, defending our country as well as supporting freedom, democracy, and human rights all over the world. The CAF includes roughly 68,000 Regular and 27,000 Reserve Force members and 24,000 civilian employees. There are three main branches of the CAF:
· The Canadian Army: This is the land-based branch of the CAF and the largest. These soldiers train for a wide range of scenarios with a broad range of equipment.
· The Royal Canadian Air Force: This branch of the CAF focuses on defending and protecting Canadian airspace and partners with the United States to do the same for North American airspace. They also cooperate with strategic allies to maintain international peace and security.
· The Royal Canadian Navy: This branch of the CAF focuses on defending Canadian sovereignty and interests at sea. They operate in Canadian waters and abroad.
Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette