How This Organization Is Helping Canadian Veterans Tell Their Stories
The aim of Veterans Voices of Canada is to ensure our continuing Canadian military history—and those who helped make it—will never be forgotten.
Lest We Forget
Since 2005, when I first started up Veteran Voices of Canada as a non-profit dedicated to sharing the stories and memories of our country’s war veterans, my colleagues and I have been travelling across Canada documenting these stories and experiences on camera. The taped interviews are then edited and donated to the family of the veteran as a keepsake, as well as to educational institutions across Canada as a teaching resource. The video clips are also posted on our website for a wider audience.
Documenting the experiences of Canadians who sacrificed so much for the freedoms we have today has led to the creation of an invaluable video archive over the years—to many, it’s an historical treasure. Travelling where needed and as funds allow, we visit surviving veterans of World War II and the Korean War, as well as Canada’s more recent veterans, to document their historically important military service.
Above all, the aim of Veterans Voices of Canada is to ensure our continuing Canadian military history, and those who helped make it, will never be forgotten.
To date, we have documented the stories of nearly 2,000 veterans across Canada. Because of the way we conduct our interviews, and through word of mouth, we have many more veterans who are ready and willing to share their stories. Although we are losing our Second World War veterans at an alarming rate, many are thankfully still with us; together with their brothers-in-arms from the Korean War and more current deployments, they are awaiting their turn to have their experiences documented via Veteran Voices.
An important aspect of our approach is that we also pay tribute to our veterans both past and present through “living history” displays in communities across Canada every fall.
In 2017, we began our now annual Veterans Voices of Canada—Flags of Remembrance ceremonies, which pay tribute to the 128,000 Canadians in total who were killed or listed missing in action over the years, including those in the military and RCMP, from the Boer War to current missions. We also began to honour Canada’s first responders in 2017, with the names of those honoured inscribed on one of 128 sponsored Plaques of Honour at each of our tribute sites. Our ultimate goal is to have 128 communities from across Canada partner with and assist us in mounting a Flags of Remembrance tribute in their region in the fall of every year, thereby extending “Remembrance” beyond the one day currently set aside for such activities.
We have many educational and learning plans ahead, including opening a military history and learning centre in my hometown of Sylvan Lake, Alta. This centre will house and display authentic and replica military artifacts of historical and educational significance, and will be of interest to all. We will also highlight interviews with veterans we’ve conducted along the way, many of whom have donated memorabilia.
As you might expect, all of this requires funding and sponsorship. We have many volunteers helping make all this happen and, in the end, the only thing slowing down our important work is securing ongoing funding. This is where you can lend a hand. If you would like to help us keep Canadian military history alive via a tax-deductible donation, please see the details provided (below).With your help, we can continue to make a difference!
To find out more about our partner in bringing you the Veteran Profile page in every issue, visit vetvoicecan.org. If you wish to, click on the donation page or mail your donation to Veterans Voices of Canada, P.O. Box 255, Red Deer, AB T4N 5E8
Next, learn how Cree code talkers from Alberta helped win WWII.