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St. Leo student has essay featured!

The City of Brantford has selected a submission by Heather Stanley, Grade 8 Student at St. Leo School as one of the winning pieces written highlighting that 'Veterans Are All Ages'.  To read Heather's submission please visit the City of Brantford's Remembrance Day page or view below.

Veterans Are All Ages

Every year at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Canadians bow their heads in silence to remember those who have so humbly served our country. But when we, as Canadians, spend those two minutes in silence, are we remembering to recognize all military veterans? Many people may only be remembering the efforts of those in major wars of the past, or only those who have died in wars. Some might be remembering the men who have served, but forgetting about all the women. It is important for us to honour everyone who has served in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), from the soldiers who fought in wars long ago to those working as peacekeepers today.

To begin with, we remember the veterans who served in World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. When these wars arose, people of many ages and backgrounds from across the country were quick to volunteer their service. Collectively, over 1.5 million Canadians served in these wars, during which much blood, sweat, and many tears were shed. More than 100,000 Canadians sacrificed their lives. Those who survived were forever plagued by the mental, emotional, and sometimes physical trauma of war. These veterans stood up for what they believed in and took action, helping the world in times of war, conflict, and crisis.

Next, we recognize the Canadians who served during the decades following the major wars. After the Korean War ended, Canada took on a new role as a peacekeeping country. Throughout the second half of the 20th century, the CAF engaged in many peacekeeping and peacemaking missions. These missions included one to resolve the Suez crisis in Egypt that threatened to harm the Western military alliance, one to stop the eruption of violence in the Republic of Congo, and a 30-year mission to separate Greeks and Turks in Cyprus. The Canadians serving during this time travelled to many places around the world, putting themselves in danger in order to create and/or maintain peace during unsettling times, and help the people living in those places.

Finally, we remember those Canadians who are continuing to serve our country today. From 2001 to 2014, the CAF’s efforts turned from peacekeeping to the War in Afghanistan. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States, Canada joined with many other countries to remove the Taliban from power and destroy the al-Qaeda terrorist network. Over 40,000 Canadians served in this campaign, and many of them travelled to Afghanistan. These veterans braved the dangers in Afghanistan and suffered its harsh, hot, desert-like climate because they wished to protect the world from more terrorist attacks and to establish peace in a torn country. Now that the Afghanistan campaign has ended, Canada is focusing on many other different operations within the country and around the world. For example, the CAF are participating in efforts to clear explosive remnants of war from the Baltic Sea and the Solomon Islands, and helping to provide advice and assistance to those in the Republic of Iraq fighting against Daesh. Within Canada, the CAF are working on missions including helping to manage the increase in those who seek refuge at the Canadian border, and responding to forest fires, floods, and natural disasters. Members of the CAF are working tirelessly on these missions and many more. They are doing their very best to resolve conflict and make the world a better place.

To conclude, you can see that over the years, there have been many different wars, missions, and operations that the CAF have participated in, and there have been many different Canadian veterans. However, all the veterans are the same in the fact that they have each made great sacrifices for others and for the world, and they have all courageously and loyally served Canada. The work these veterans have done and the sacrifices they have made have had a huge impact on the world, and on who we are as a country. It is up to us to remember and learn from the people and events of the past, so that history does not repeat itself. If we do not commemorate and appreciate our veterans, their sacrifices will have been for nothing. This Remembrance Day, please take some time to remember all those who have served our country. You can say a prayer, spend a few minutes in quiet reflection, donate money to support veterans, and/or educate yourself more on the topic of Remembrance Day. If we keep educating ourselves and others on the issues of the past and present world, we can work towards creating a world where there is no need for veterans; a world without violence and war, a world filled with love, compassion, and peace. Lest we forget.  

Written By:  Heather Stanley, St. Leo School