Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to let Canadian veterans know they are cared for an remembered. Creating and sending a hand-made Valentine is an easy way of bringing joy to a veteran while expressing gratitude for their sacrifices and achievements.
Each year, Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) invites Canadian schools, individuals and organizations to make Valentines for Vets. VAC, then distributes the valentines to veterans in long-term care facilities across the country in time for February 14.
“At VAC we invite Canadians, young and old, to send valentines to us. The continued participation of school children and the public is what makes the Valentines for Vets program such a huge success,” said Kate Murphy, Veterans Affairs Canada.
Valentines for Vets began in 1989 when the late newspaper columnist Ann Landers, encouraged her readers to create special valentines for veterans in care facilities throughout Canada and the United States. Every year, Lander’s special Valentines for Vets column asked her readers to remember the valiant sacrifices of their nation’s veterans by making them personal hand-crafted valentines.
VAC became involved with the program in 1996, and has been receiving and distributing valentines to Veterans in care facilities across the country ever since.
Though Ann Landers passed away in 2002, VAC is committed to continuing her legacy of honouring veterans in this special way.
VAC offers recommendations to those schools and families who choose to participate in the program.
“Please do not include candy or chocolate with the valentines. Do not use sparkles or materials that easily break off. Ensure kids are aware of who veterans are. They are men and women who served in the military. Avoid using “RIP” and images related to violence or death such as graveyards or guns. Kids sometimes get their images of Remembrance Day mixed in with their Valentine’s Day sentiments,” said Murphy.
VAC also encourages students and teachers to sign their valentines and to write a bit about themselves including their age and what school they attend. However, do not include addresses or phone numbers.
Here are a few ideas from the VAC website:
V is for Valentines for Vets. (Valiant, Very special, Vital, Vibrant)
A is for All of Canada’s brave Veterans. (Amazing, Always remembered, Appreciated)
L is for Living in freedom. (Love, Loyal, Liberty)
E is for your heroic Efforts. (Excellent, Encouraging)
N is for the New Veterans Charter. (Nice, Noble)
T is for Teaching youth. (Talented, Treasured)
I is for students, organizations and Individuals sending valentine tributes. (Intelligent, Impressive)
N is for the Numerous ways we appreciate you. (Nice)
E is for thanks for Everything! (Excellent, Earnest)
S is for your valiant Sacrifices. (Strong, Super)
To send a Valentine containing a personal message of appreciation to a veteran, please send it by 1 February, 2015 to:
Valentines for Vets
Veterans Affairs Canada
P.O. Box 7700
Charlottetown, PE C1A 8M9
If you have further questions please email [email protected]