“This year during Veterans’ Week, we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. This global conflict raged for six years and saw 1.1 million Canadians serve in uniform.

“When the war began in late 1939, Canada had a population of 11 million despite its immense geographic size. Almost everyone knew somebody – either a family member or friend – who served in Canada’s military forces during the Second World War.

“The people of Alberta responded quickly to Canada’s call to arms. More than 50,000 Albertans served in the Canadian Army. About 7,500 more joined the Royal Canadian Navy, despite the fact our province is completely landlocked. Another 20,000 served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. In all, an estimated 82,500 Albertans saw military service during the conflict.

“The war in Europe ended with Germany’s surrender in May 1945, but intense fighting continued in Asia and the Pacific until Aug. 15, 1945, when Japan surrendered.

“Canada and countries around the world rejoiced that the Second World War was over, but they also grieved the heavy sacrifices that occurred during this time.

“I encourage Albertans to take a few minutes during Veterans’ Week 2020, which runs Nov. 5-11, to reflect on the efforts and sacrifices previous generations made to protect Canada and its interests, and defend our shared values and our way of life.

“While the pandemic has fundamentally changed the ways in which we can honour Canada’s fallen and thank our military veterans for their service, there are still many ways to express your gratitude. Wear a poppy. Contact a veteran you know, or their family, to ask how they are doing and express your thanks. Tune into a webcast or televised Remembrance Day service on Nov. 11.”

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