It’s time for students to hit the books again, and in keeping with that and our special section, Focus On Youth, we asked students to answer a key question:
Why is it important for youth to learn Canadian military history?
Shawn Claire, Victoria, B.C.
“Military history is a critical aspect of any country’s foundation and Canada is no exception. The youth of Canada live and breathe Canada’s past, present and future, and those who have put their lives on the line for our country did so for the unborn children of the next generation. The luxuries and privileges we enjoy stem not only from domestic and political history, but from battles and sacrifices made by countless faces and names…. These were real people with dreams and lives sacrificed for Canada’s youth. If the youth of Canada forget the importance of our nation’s armed forces, then who would continue the stories that are a crucial part of our military history?”
Victoria Lisi, Whitby, Ont.
“By learning about Canada’s military history we learn how our country evolved…. When we learn about what happened in the past, we can prepare for the future…. Youth can understand the sacrifices millions of people made for the better of our country, and maybe this understanding will encourage them to step up and provide for our future generations. I believe we can use lessons from history to make Canada a better place, a country that can continue to serve as an example for others around the world.”
Trisha Banks, Summerside, P.E.I.
“I believe it is important for youth to learn military history because the men and women who served in uniform have made a difference in our lives. If the soldiers would not have made the sacrifices they did, Canadian citizens would be living very different lives today. People need to start learning about our military past so that generations to come will be able to appreciate what all these men and women did for us.”
Benn Boutilier, Truro, N.S.
“Even though the thought of war is far removed from today’s youth, the history is still very important. Young people need to know what our grandparents and great grandparents went through in their day. They fought for what we have today: our peace, our opportunities and our freedom. This has helped shape the great country we live in today. Youth need to recognize the fact that many lives were taken in order to give us our great lives; we need to respect this and remember those who fought on our behalf.”
Chelsy Vachon, Morinville, Alta.
“We must know about the sacrifices the soldiers made for us. Learning about the sacrifices they made helps us to be grateful for all the freedoms we have and not take those freedoms for granted. The men and women who served in uniform gave up so much so future generations could have a better quality of life. The least we can do is recognize all they did for us and be grateful.”
Gregory Boyd, Ottawa
“It is important for today’s youth to know about Canada’s military history because many of our forefathers fought for our freedom. By “forefathers” I don’t just mean men. A lot of young people, who weren’t much older than me, joined the military. Their sacrifices gave us the chance to live the lives we have today, and if not for them our school classes would look a lot different.”
Kate Rundle, Summerside, P.E.I.
“We should remember Canada’s military past so we think of the pain and suffering that the men and women in war went through. We should remember so we can thank our veterans and fallen soldiers for the freedom they have given us. We should remember so history does not repeat itself.”
Shelby-Lee Cole, Summerside, P.E.I.
“It’s been said that without a past there is no future. If we, the youth of today, are educated on what the past has sacrificed, perhaps we can control the outcome of the future, and therefore keep the peace that Canada’s military has fought for and still is fighting for.”
Amanda Parent, Ottawa
“I believe it is important because it is important for youth to learn about the sacrifices made by past and present members of the Canadian military—sacrifices made to keep Canada and its allies safe and free. Without the efforts of our brave soldiers Canada would not be one of the most desirable countries in the world in which to live, and we would be without a very important feature—a vast population of peoples who originate from all over the world.”
Peter Leahy, Ottawa
“What youth don’t know is that the military formed the basis, the stepping stones of our country. It is important because youth like me need to know that if proud Canadians hadn’t died for their country, we would not have the opportunities we have today. The military helped determine the course of history. It is important to know this so we can help determine the future. As the grandson of two Second World War veterans I am proud to commemorate the soldiers who have served and the ones yet to come, and so I thank each and every veteran of wars past and present.”
Justin Kuchta, Morinville, Alta.
“Studying military history helps us remember the countless sacrifices that our soldiers made for us to live the way we do today. It helps to tie us back to the past to create a new future, by not doing the same mistakes made in history. If youth continue to learn about Canada’s military history then the stories and experiences can be passed down from generation to generation, making sure it is never forgotten.”
Matthew Howse, Kingston, N.S.
“If we don’t develop an understanding of Canada’s military history, then we cannot be truly appreciative of what Canada’s contributions have been in this regard. Although we won’t know how our men and women felt, knowing what they did will help us begin to understand.”