Stories From Canadian Veterans and Their Families
“My concern is that, as the last of these veterans die, as my father has, Canadians will forget about what they did, forget about their service, forget about what they sacrificed.”
— Michael Babin, son of Alfred Babin, Canadian veteran of the Battle of Hong Kong, 1941
In Their Own Voices is an initiative aimed at capturing new accounts of the veteran’s experience after war or military service.
Presenting the collective and individual stories of veterans and their families, In Their Own Voices focuses primarily on those who served in Canada’s military from the Second World War to the present day. It seeks to explore the enduring impact of military service, as well as how armed conflict and war have shaped the lives of veterans, their loved ones, and Canada itself.
Through hundreds of interviews conducted by historians from the Canadian War Museum, this project will expand the Museum’s collection of oral histories and include a curated online portal, with future plans for a conference and book.
When finished, In Their Own Voices will become a comprehensive resource for students and scholars, as well as a legacy for future generations. By humanizing the individual behind the veteran, the project will bring history to life for all Canadians, helping them to better understand the personal stories and struggles of those who have served their country in times of war and peace.
“I find solace in the fact that the sacrifice matters because we need people who are willing to sacrifice for Canada. And the way the world works and the instruments of statecraft and whatnot, that’s just beyond your sphere of influence. So, you take solace in the service and the sacrifice, because we need that to keep what we have.”
— Tyler Wentzell, Canadian Armed Forces, Operational Mentor and Liaison Team leader in Afghanistan, 2008
Carried out over a multi-year period, In Their Own Voices will result in:
- A comprehensive collection of oral histories, capturing first-hand accounts of the Canadian veteran’s experience from the Second World War to the present day;
- An online resource featuring interview excerpts, photographs and images of related artifacts;
- A conference bringing together veterans, historians and other experts; and
- The publication of a legacy book.
We Want to Hear From You
Your story is important to all Canadians. If you’re a veteran, or the family member of one, we want to hear from you. Our historians will be conducting hundreds of interviews for this project. If you’d like to participate and share your experiences with us, please complete the online form.
Photos at top of page:
George Metcalf Archival Collection, CWM 20090037-009_DSC01126; CWM 20100197-001_35b; CWM 20080028-001_IMG_8641a (© Stephen Thorne , The Canadian Press)