The Memory Project

The Memory Project was started by the Historica–Dominion Institute with funding from Canadian Heritage.  The project aims to capture the memories and experiences of all Second World War and Korean War veterans living in Canada.  The project is bilingual and includes oral histories, artefacts, and digitized photographs.   The stories that have been collected so far are available through a digital archive.  This resource is an excellent place for students, teachers, researchers, all of those remembering our past .

Remembrance Day in a Digital World

Each year it seems that the amount of material available to commemorate remembrance day and Canadian soldiers, grows tenfold. The mass amount of information available makes it easy to get lost while looking for relevant information. Below is a list which compiles some of the more educational and historically relevant sites I have come across.

The Veterans Affairs Canada site includes a wide variety of information on Canadian soldiers and commemoration. Some of the more noteworthy parts of this site include:

  • Heroes Remember–a video archive of personal recollections of various war efforts. This archive is searchable by both name and hometown.
  • The Canadian Virtual War Memorial–a registry of information about the graves and memorials of more than 116,000 Canadians who served. The interesting part of this being that the site also digital images of photographs and personal memorabilia about individual Canadians. Users can also contribute photos or information they may have about family members who served.
  • Diaries, Letters, and Stories–This is a collection of WWI and WWII solider diaries and letters, all of which have been transcribed and made available to the general public online. These first hand account of the potential to be used by students as primary sources.
  • Books of Remembrance–Many community libraries still house traditional books of remembrance. This archive features digital copies of many of the Books of Remembrance in the Memorial Chamber on Parliament Hill, and contains the names of many of those who participated in WWI and WWII.

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) also features a number of online resources relating Canadian presence in various wars. These resources include:

  • A selection of War diaries, featuring excepts from soldiers diaries from WWI.
  • A virtual exhibit on WWII, “Faces of War.” The exhibit also allows users to explore photos from both the LAC collection and the collection held by DND.
  • Military Personnel records are also searchable via LAC. These records can be searched via names, location, military medals, war diaries, and war graves.

The Canadian Military History Gateway also features a number of interesting resources and ways of exploring Canada’s military history.

  • Canadian Military Reference Book–available in full text online, simple resource for anyone looking to gain a basic background in Canadian military history.
  • A number of lesson plans and educational suggestions relating to Canadian military history.

Lastly, From Colony to Country: A Reader’s Guide to Canadian Military History is a great resource for anyone looking for a comprehensive guide to the written material on Canadian military history. The site is divided up by military campaigns, and then each military campaign is divided into thematic subsections. The guide has been compiled by LAC and noteable military historians.

Remembrance in the Media.

The Globe and Mail in the days leading up to Remembrance Day has included a feature called Dear Sweetheart: Letters Home from a Solider. The letters are from Canadian David K. Hazzard to his wife Audrey, he wrote over a 100 letters in total to her. The letters are very personal, emotional and serve to highlight the trials which numerous soldiers went through. Letters by Hazzard and other soldiers are a valuable way of examining the War and serve as a very emotional type of commemoration.

In addition to the Globe and Mail series, pretty much any media outlet you can think of has done some type of feature on Remembrance Day. History Television is currently airing a Week of Remembrance which focuses on various nationally defining battles and Canadian trials in the war. Similarly the CBC had both television and digital representations of Remembrance Day ceremonies and the CBC Digital Archives has a number of recommended videos on Canada Remembering.

With the amount of accessible information I hope everyone took at least a moment to think about the role which War has had in forging the history of our country and to remember the sacrifice of those who believed in something bigger than themselves.