Veterans’ Week 2019: Canadian Army Remembers

Graphic: Joanna Gajdicar

Each year, Canadian soldiers join Canadians as they mark Veterans’ Week from November 5 to 11. At commemorative ceremonies and events across the country, they come together to recognize Veterans and military personnel past and present and to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of Canada.

The theme of this year’s program is “Faces of Freedom” and will commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy, the 75th anniversary of the Italian Campaign, the 70th anniversary of NATO, and the 5th anniversary of the end of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan.

We launch this page each year on the day poppies go on sale, which is on Friday, October 25 this year.

Visit this page throughout Veterans’ Week for Canadian Army Veterans’ Week stories, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter for all the Army’s latest updates.

Did you know?

75th Anniversary of D-Day and Battle of Normandy - Fought from June 6 until August 25, 1944

By the summer of 1942, the Allies had begun to make inroads against the Germans in North Africa, Italy, on the Eastern Front, in the skies over Europe and on the Atlantic Ocean.

To win the war, Western Europe would have to fall back into Allied hands via a coordinated ground attack. France’s northern beaches were chosen as a landing target for “Operation OVERLORD”, a complex Allied mission that saw troops, ships, tanks, supplies and other equipment cross the English Channel in a massive push to break through the Nazis’ heavily fortified coastal defences.

On June 6, 1944, a date we know as D-Day, over 14,000 Canadian soldiers came ashore at Juno Beach and braved heavy fire to push inland. Fighting was fierce for the several months that followed and over 5,000 Canadians lost their lives during the Normandy campaign. 25,000 were injured. 

75th anniversary of the Italian Campaign - Fought between July 1943 and September 1944

The fighting on the Eastern front was vicious and long by 1943, Allied forces agreed to help the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin push back against the Germans, deciding to mount an attack through Italy in an attempt to divert enemy attention and resources from the east.  

More than 93,000 Canadians played a vital role in the 20-month battle to close in on enemy forces, advancing from southern Italy all the way up north, braving difficult mountainous terrain, tough battles with enemy troops and all kinds of weather. Together with their Allied counterparts, Canadians had successfully broken through the German defences to liberate Rome by the fall of 1944.

Nearly 6,000 Canadians lost their lives in the Italian Campaign, and more than 26,000 sustained injuries.

70th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Canada is a founding member of NATO, an important strategic military alliance that enables joint efforts to build security, stability and international order – playing a crucial role in preventing conflict and preserving peace around the world.

From the time of the Cold War until today, Canada continues to play an important role in NATO missions and helps advance NATO’s core tasks, which include counter-terrorism and crisis management. Under NATO, Canada also actively supports the United Nations’ agenda on women, peace and security.

5th anniversary of the end of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan

More than 40,000 Canadian Armed Forces personnel took part in this important mission – Canada’s largest deployment since the Second World War.

Canadian soldiers prevailed in many dangerous combat operations and assisted with various humanitarian and nation-building initiatives to help the people of Afghanistan. 

Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan came at a significant cost: 158 Canadian Armed Forces personnel, a Canadian diplomat, a National Defence contractor, a Canadian journalist who was embedded with the Canadian Armed Forces, and 42 United States armed forces members and one civilian who were under Canadian command lost their lives.

Troops lowered the Canadian flag for the last time in Afghanistan on March 12, 2014.


Francis William Godon, an Indigenous veteran of D-Day

Francis William Godon 1924-2019 Métis D-Day veteran passes 75 years after harrowing experience at Juno Beach

Boissevain, Manitoba — D-Day veteran and Métis soldier Francis Godon was laid to rest on the frigid winter afternoon of January 19, 2019 in his southern Manitoba community near the North Dakota border. He was 94.
February 26, 2019

A life-sized bronze statue of a First World War-era service dog wearing a medical backpack

A memorial dedicated to Canada’s four-legged or feathered combatants

Ottawa, Ontario — There is a special memorial in Canada’s capital that is located a few blocks down Elgin Street from the National War Memorial.
November 22, 2018

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