Remembrance Day message not lost on young Canadians, says brigadier general

Remembrance Day has always been special for Brig.-Gen. Derek Macaulay. But the day also carries meaning for younger Canadians, he said, including many new recruits.

Atlantic ranks grew by 40 per cent in the last year, says Brig.-Gen. Derek Macaulay

Social media helps young Canadians understand what is going on with conflicts around the world, says Brig.-Gen Derek Macaulay. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Remembrance Day has always been special for Brig.-Gen. Derek Macaulay. His father and grandfather both served in Canadian Armed Forces.

His grandfather was on the beaches of Normandy in the Second World War, and is buried in France.

"For me this is certainly a day to reflect on the sacrifices that not only they, but so many made," said Macaulay, the army commander for the Atlantic provinces, in an interview with CBC News: Compass

But Macaulay said the Remembrance Day message is also alive and well among the younger generations, who may be more connected to recent missions in Afghanistan and the current missions in Mali and Latvia.

Macaulay's father and grandfather both served in the Canadian military. (CBC)

"With social media and the ability to understand what is going on all over the world — we have so many conflicts ongoing and soldiers trying to protect those that can't protect themselves — I think the youth are provided an opportunity to understand, and they understand the importance of the  Canadian Armed Forces and what we do in the world today," he said.

Atlantic ranks growing

That interest in the Forces can be seen in recruitment efforts, where Macaulay said the Atlantic ranks grew beyond expectations in the last year — both in numbers and diversity.

"I'm really happy to say we have had an explosive year," said. "We managed to surpass our goals and grew over 40 per cent in the division overall.

"Everything, not only gender but culture, has changed. It's a slow process on diversity, but I can say we have some great women and men that have joined the Canadian Armed Forces."

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With files from CBC News: Compass