Canada Remembers

by E.B. Lapointe

As 11 November nears each year, Canada takes time to remember those who have served their country, as well as those who continue to serve today. On Remembrance Day, a national ceremony is conducted at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, and also at various memorials across the country.

There are a couple special ways to remember this year: through the issue of the Victoria Cross Commemorative Stamp by Canada Post—which notes the 150th anniversary of the issuance of the Victoria Cross to soldiers of the Commonwealth on the 24th of October—and the issuance of the Poppy Coin, the world's first coloured coin in circulation. It is the Canadian 25 cent piece, which has a red poppy in the center. It commemorates the 117,000 who have died in service to Canada.

The stamp can be seen and ordered from <http://www.canadapost.ca/personal/collecting/default-e.asp?stamp=stpdtl&detail=962>, and the coin can be seen at <http://www.mint.ca/microsite/en/index.asp>.

Under "Canada Remembers" on the bilingual Veteran's Affairs Canada/Anciens Combattants Canada website, <http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers>, the government department has developed the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.

Remembrance Week is held from the 5th to the 11th of November, 2004. This year, we are remembering the 93,000 men who took part in the Italian Campaign, those who fought from south to north in Italy during a 20 month period to protect global peace and freedom.

The site contains information about the graves and memorials of more than 116,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders who served and gave their lives for their country. Also included at the website are more than 100 soldiers who have died in service since the Korean Conflict, in peacekeeping and other operations.

As it says on the website, "The Canada Remembers Program endeavours to keep alive the achievements and sacrifices made by those who served Canada in times of war and peace; to engage communities in remembrance of these achievements and sacrifices; and, to promote an understanding of their significance in Canadian life as we know it today."

The website is easy to search. Simply put in the surname of the person researched and a list of the people with the same last surname will be listed.

At the bottom of the page are additional resources on the Internet, such as the Canadian Genealogy Centre at <http://www.genealogy.gc.ca/06/06_e.html> which has databases of soldiers of the First World War (1914-1918) and of the South African War.

The Library and Archives of Canada also pays homage to Veterans' Week 2004 by offering a plethora of information on their website at <http://www.collectionscanada.ca/2/38/index-e.html>.

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    "A former newspaper reporter in Canada's capital, Ottawa, I became interested in writing about genealogy when researching my own ancestor, Andrew Barclay, an American Loyalist from Boston, Massachusetts, early in 1990. Quickly, my interest spread beyond my own family, and by 1994, I was editing a genealogy newsletter and by 1997, I was editing the Sourcing Canada series of books. Since then, I have gone on to write "My Ancestor Was French Canadian" and a series of booklets on Canadian genealogy. I love to travel the Canadian and American countryside looking for interesting people and places to photograph and to write about." - E.B. Lapointe

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