Operation Veteran expands educational programs while inviting even more students to Ottawa for Remembrance DayNovember 5, 2013
Ottawa, Ontario, November 4, 2013 – Operation Veteran is launching its fifth year by once again expanding its popular programs to honour veterans and raise awareness of their sacrifices. This year, more students than ever will participate in a memorable visit to the Canadian War Museum on Remembrance Day. In addition, Operation Veteran will soon start bringing that experience directly to schools across Canada via the War Museum’s Supply Line program.
Operation Veteran was founded in 2009 by Dr. Paul Kavanagh, in association with the Canadian War Museum, to provide complimentary meals to veterans visiting the Museum. The initiative soon expanded to bring high school students from across Canada to Ottawa for Remembrance Day. They spend time with veterans and learn firsthand about the sacrifices made by those who have served this country, then go home to tell their fellow students what they’ve learned.
Now, in honour of the First World War Centenary in 2014, Operation Veteran is growing again with Supply Line. This hands-on classroom experience consists of travelling trunks from the War Museum containing authentic and reproduction materials from the Great War. Beginning in September 2014, the trunks will travel to schools across Canada in so young people can see, touch and understand the past.
“Supply Line and the Canadian War Museum’s expanded online resources will help Operation Veteran engage even more students from across Canada in remembrance,” said James Whitham, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “We are grateful for Operation Veteran and Paul Kavanagh for his continued commitment to veterans and to sharing Canada’s military history with young Canadians across the country.”
Thanks to Supply Line, a grade 10 student in Medicine Hat who never met her great-great-grandfather will be able to handle a scratchy uniform like the one he wore in the First World War. A student in Corner Brook will be able to hear the unnerving crackle of a gas rattle, feel the weight of an old helmet, peer through the tiny eyeholes of a gas mask, and taste bland and chalky ration biscuits. They will come to understand, in part, what their forebears experienced.
“Canadian veterans made an enormous contribution, serving our country and the entire world. It’s our turn to serve them,” said Dr. Kavanagh. “By providing meals to our veterans, and offering educational programs so young people can better understand our military history, we demonstrate respect and help perpetuate the memory of their invaluable contribution.”
Dr. Kavanagh was inspired to found Operation Veteran in 2009 following a poignant encounter in the Canadian War Museum’s cafeteria, where he saw a Second World War veteran who did not have enough money to pay for soup and a coffee. Soon after, Dr. Kavanagh approached the War Museum with an offer to ensure that veterans would receive a complimentary meal at the Museum on Remembrance Day.
In 2010, thanks to fundraising efforts by schools and the generosity of private donors, the program was extended to every day the Museum is open. To date, veterans visiting the Canadian War Museum have enjoyed more than 4,500 free meals.
The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions.
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| Avra Gibbs Lamey
Communications and Media Relations Officer
Canadian War Museum
| Yasmine Mingay
Manager, Public Affairs
Canadian War Museum