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UNB Lest We Forget Students reflect on Canada s involvement in the World Wars

Author: Communications

Posted on Nov 6, 2015

Category: UNB Fredericton , myUNB , In the Media

This year marks the third anniversary of UNB Remembers, a student-led initiative that explores how the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) history is shaped by the two World Wars and the importance of critical approaches to thinking and teaching about war.  

The idea for UNB Remembers took root on a Teacher’s Tour for the Study of War and the Canadian Experience led by UNB’s Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society. Graduate students Katherine Ireland and Sarah King were inspired to learn more about the university’s role in the First and Second World Wars. UNB Remembers was created to share the wartime stories of members of the university community in a respectful way while being truthful about the consequences of war in a special ceremony on UNB’s Fredericton campus.   

There’s growing student interest in Canada’s unique contribution to the First and Second World Wars, according to Lee Windsor, associate professor and deputy director of the Gregg Centre.  

In his course History of Canadian Forces 1867-1953, Dr. Windsor teaches students the history of the Canadian Armed Forces – their role and connection to Canadian society. “It’s really about the emergence of Canadian military traditions and Canada’s sense of itself globally as it participates in the two world wars,” said Dr. Windsor. 

UNB offers courses that provide students with the opportunity to tackle problems and issues in great breadth and others that allow them to immerse themselves in one topic in greater depth, said Dr. Windsor. 

History of Canadian Forces 1867-1953 not only offers students the opportunity to learn about Canada’s involvements in the First and Second World Wars, but also to think critically about these events and their impact on Canadian society.     

“He [Dr. Windsor] makes you look at it from a different perspective, very unconventionally, which is really refreshing and it really sticks with you,” said Jeff Johnson, a student in Dr. Windsor’s class. “He just kind of gets you to look at it from different perspectives and not necessarily just follow what you’re taught and what you’re told. And just maybe think outside the box.” 

When reflecting on Remembrance Day, Dr. Windsor's student Marcel Richard said, “It mostly comes down to just remembering what other people have done so that we can live in relative peace and security. Most people have no idea what it is to go to war or even be in some kind of semblance of war or a very violent area. So, not living in an area like that is reason to give thanks for thousands of people [who] died and sacrificed themselves so we can live this way. That’s what I think Remembrance Day’s important for.” 

All members of the Fredericton community are invited to attend UNB Remembers on Friday, Nov. 6 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall on UNB’s Fredericton campus. 

For more information, please contact Katherine Ireland, Gregg Centre History Education Fellow, at katherine.ireland@unb.ca.  

About the Gregg Centre for the Study of War & Society

UNB’s Gregg Centre for the Study of War & Society is a national centre of excellence for the study of war and society. Its goal is to increase understand of the cause, course and consequence of armed conflict.