My grandfather Mel Richards was among the one million Canadians – almost 10 per cent of Canada’s entire population at the time - who answered their nation’s call to service in the Second World War.
His voluntary military service has always been a source of great pride for me and my generation is fortunate that we have been able to receive first-hand the memories of these veterans of that war.
Across Canada, there are many thousands of Second World War veterans with personal stories to tell that could inspire a new generation and teach them the valuable lessons we have learned from war.
But time is marching and the lessons to be learned from our veterans’ experiences are being lost with their passing. Already this year, Canada lost its last living connection to the First World War when John “Jack” Babcock, our country’s last known veteran from that conflict, died.
Future generations will not have our opportunities to hear veterans’ personal insights into the sacrifices they have made.
So it is up to this generation to ensure that they do.
It is important as a country that we capture for history the stories and artifacts of our veterans, in order to create a first-hand, unfiltered account of Canada’s participation in the Second World War.
An initiative of the Historica-Dominion Institute and partly funded by our Conservative Government, the Memory Project is crossing Canada to create a permanent record of our country’s participation in the Second World War, as seen through the eyes of its veterans.
I’m pleased to have been able to arrange for the Memory Project to make several stops in Wild Rose.
During a series of meetings over several days here in June, the Memory Project will provide an opportunity for our Second World War veterans in Wild Rose to share their memories through oral interviews and to record their wartime artifacts and memorabilia for a digitized archive.
These stories and artifacts will be available on the Memory Project web site at www.thememoryproject.com for teachers, students and the general public to experience, learn from and enjoy.
I strongly urge constituents to pass the word of the following local Memory Project sessions to veterans, in hopes they will lend their valuable stories to this worthwhile and historic venture:
• June 27, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Crossfield Community Hall
• June 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Olds Royal Canadian Legion Branch 105
• June 30, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Canmore Royal Canadian Legion Three Sisters Branch.
Please call my constituency office at 1-800-667-0410 for more information.