She always gives it extra thought around this time of year, but for Jovanna Rodney, the importance of Remembrance Day is a year-round endeavour.
Rodney, 26, who was born missing the fingers on her left hand, has always felt a special bond with veterans, particularly those who are also amputees.
She’s a graduate of the War Amps CHAMP (The Child Amputee Program), where she joined when she was just one year old.
“Before that, there weren’t many resources my parents were aware of. So once they got involved with War Amps, it’s something I’ve been a part of ever since,” she explains.
Now, she’s part of Operation Legacy, a program that launched in 1991 and is comprised of young Canadians who believe in preserving the country’s military heritage, history, and legacy.
Spreading the message and fostering hope for the future
That’s why she believes wholeheartedly in the importance of Remembrance Day each year, and reflecting on those who fought for our freedoms.
“I think that we should all take that time to reflect on things that have taken place in the past and work towards ensuring that it doesn’t happen again in the future, or in the present,” she says.
Rodney says those involved in Operation Legacy “have taken up the torch of remembrance to commemorate the sacrifices of those who served and pay tribute to the war”.
“It’s very important for us to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers and veterans, and to ensure that their sacrifices are not forgotten.”
What can the average Calgarian do to honour veterans?
Rodney, whose own father was a soldier, has some simple tips for people who want to honour veterans this Remembrance Day.
“You can wear a poppy to show your support. You can take a moment of silence on Remembrance Day, and just kind of reflect on where you’ve come from and how you got there.”
Calgarians can also attend ceremonies around the city, visit cenotaphs, or visit the Military Museum, for example.
“Just remember there are people who fought for the freedom of Canada and fought for freedom for other countries around the world. And just keep those things in mind.”
She has one last message for people — especially younger generations — to keep in mind
“It might not have been a direct family member, but I’m sure everybody knows someone or has had a member in their family that is a veteran, or that has been a soldier,” she says.
“It’s important to remember that it was their war — they were the ones that fought for those freedoms that we have and for the rights that we have here in Canada — but it’s our legacy to carry on.”
The War Amps provides financial assistance to Canadian amputees for artificial limbs and peer support. The organization was established in 1918 by amputee war veterans returning home from World War 1.
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