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Enlist for True Patriot Love | Jacqueline Biollo, MBA, ICD.D

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“When I grow up I want to be in the military”, said more boys and girls than you may ever have imagined.

The Canadian national anthem, ‘O Canada’, has been a symbol of Canadian pride, fortitude, and patriotism since it was commissioned in 1880.

And so, just think, of all the careers you could have – wouldn’t it be cool to ‘be in the army, air force, or navy’?

The Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Canadian Air Force comprise the three branches of the Canadian Armed Forces. Their long and proud tradition of protecting and serving Canada on land, at sea, and in the air continues today.

During the first world war (between 1914 – 1918) and the second world war (between 1939 – 1945), suddenly, everybody’s sons, brothers, and husbands were soldiers.

Between 2019-2020: 10,118 individuals joined the Canadian Armed Forces. Of those who joined, 1,775 were women.

When war broke out in 1914, a recruitment campaign was immediately launched to increase the ranks. Even today, the portrayal of military personnel and military activity in movies can be seen as a tactic used to encourage Canadians to do their patriotic duty, and enlist.

By example, the movie Passchendaele, a film inspired by Michael Joseph Dune, who served in the 56th, 5th, 14th and 23rd Reserve Battalions, Canadian Expeditionary Force (or CEF), in the First World War – and how he was wounded in action, then returned home to Calgary, Alberta, and how like many veterans, soldier Dune was reticent about sharing his experiences with his family. (Source: Wikipedia)

The Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) was the entire overseas force fielded by Canada during the First World War. Of the 630,000 Canadians who enlisted for military service, 424,000 went overseas as part of the CEF.

Pressure to join up didn’t always result in young men enlisting. Some, although 18 at the time, were prevented by their parents from signing up. 

But what would you do if you made the military your career? How would you even go about pursing it if you were interested in becoming a soldier after you graduated from high school?

Well, you don’t have to wait until you graduate to get involved. By example, The Cadet Program for young Canadians aged 12 to 18 is a dynamic program. You can join the Sea, Army or Air Cadets and participate in exciting and challenging activities that you can’t experience anywhere else. 

The Cadet Program helps youth develop skills and transition into adulthood. There are Cadet corps and squadrons across Canada. Visit for information and to  find out how to join. Our youth are the future of our Canadian Armed Forces.

Of interest – there is currently 16.1% Women, 9.3% minority, and 2.8% Indigenous representation in the Canadian Armed Forces.

From April to August 2020, over 7,668 Reservists supported national, provincial, and territorial responses to COVID-19 as part of Operation LASER.

The Canadian Armed Forces recognize that education is the best investment an individual can make towards the development of their future career. So, encourage the youth to stay in school, and consider how their education can assist them in securing a job as a soldier, pilot, aerospace telecommunication technician, medicine specialist, military police, marine systems engineering officer, weapons engineering technician, airborne electronic sensor operator, air combat systems officer… the list goes on and on.

There will always be a tremendous surge of national emotion that sweeps through the country when adversity strikes – and the reasons behind each person’s decision to enlist varies. 

Today, lest we forget  the more intimate costs exacted from those millions of men, women, and boys who left their homes and families to step inside the trenches and on to the battle fields.

Lest we forget.


Jacqueline Biollo’s husband is a Captain in the Canadian Armed Forces. Jacqueline volunteers her time as a keynote speaker with the Memory Project (Historica Canada) and shares stories of military service at community events across the country. For more information or to book Jacqueline, visit

Remembrance Day in Canada is November 11th. Article references and statistics were from 

Photo by Blue Nail Negatives

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