Many women joined IODE during the war to find support and friendship while their male relatives were overseas. They found the strength and skills to raise money, fund projects and make a difference.
Special service bars were created for members to wear with their membership badges. The red 1914 bar was worn with the membership badge of a member whose son was a soldier.
IODE chapters donated ambulances, wheel chairs, stretchers and machine guns; established field kitchens and clubs for returned, disabled soldiers; and established centres in Canada for making hospital supplies and field comforts. Exclusive of the value of material used for comforts, a total sum of approximately $5,500,000 was raised and expended by chapters during 1914-1918. A remarkable achievement, second only to the contribution of the Red Cross.
Canada's total casualties were 67,000 killed and 173,000 wounded. We cannot forget their sacrifices. We need to continue to tell their stories.
Please take the time on 11 November to stop and remember the sacrifices of those soldiers. Remember, too, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, tragically killed on Canadian soil in October 2014. Remember their families.
Lest we forget. N'oublions jamais.
E. Anne Mason