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Lest We Forget Header

Though half a century has passed since Canada has been involved in a major world conflict, the legacy of those who gave their lives in war persists today. Every year, we pay tribute on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to those men and women. But this recognition is small compared to their sacrifice. It is a sacrifice that has granted us the democratic state, individual and collective freedoms, and peace that we have known in Canada.

World War I
The First World War began in August 1914 and ended on November 11, 1918. This “war to end all wars” saw at least 10 million soldiers die and another 29 million wounded, captured, or missing. Canada sent approximately 650,000 soldiers to fight. The most prominent French and Belgian sites where Canadians fought and died include Arras, Amiens, Passchendaele, the Somme, Vimy, and Ypres, which was Canada’s first major battle and one of the most crucial battles in history. For every ten Canadians sent to fight, one did not return. In his book Fading Away, Garnett Turner records 6,000 names of Island men and women who served in this war.

World War II Beach Grove Memorial Forest
The Second World War was fought for six terrible years, from 1939 until 1945. Canada entered the war on September 10, 1939. More than one million Canadians served, with several hundred Islanders among them. They fought in the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Armed Forces, and with other Allies. Canadian soldiers defended the United Kingdom when a Nazi invasion appeared imminent, valiantly struggled to defend Hong Kong against the Japanese, and saw horrific losses at Dieppe. Canadians were also on the front lines on D-Day, when the Allies returned to Continental Europe and began the end of the war. In all, more than 45,000 Canadians gave their lives and 55,000 were wounded.

Korean Conflict
North Korea’s invasion of the Republic of Korea was the first open act of aggression since the creation of the United Nations. During the three years of fighting from 1950 to 1953, some 25,000 Canadians served under the flag of the United Nations. Another 7,000 served between the cease-fire and the end of 1955. Of the 2 million casualties on both sides, 516 were Canadians.

During each of these wars, Canadian volunteers young and old left their homes and their families and joined the war effort. They defended democracy and freedom against tyranny and oppression and cared for those wounded in battle. Today, in communities across Prince Edward Island, monuments have been erected to remember those who gave their lives in war, sacrificing themselves for our country and the freedoms we enjoy today. We acknowledge their courage, the hardship they endured, and the ultimate sacrifice they offered on our behalf.

Click here to view a list of Prince Edward Island’s war cenotaphs in the gallery.

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