Canadian peacekeepers honoured at national monument
By Alec Connor, Co-op student with The Guard
The commitment and sacrifice of Canadian military, police, and civilian peacekeepers throughout the world was recognized this past Sunday, August 12, with a parade, speeches, and a ceremony at the Peacekeeping Monument in Ottawa.
In commemoration of National Peacekeeper’s Day, Veterans, Royal Canadian Mounted Police members, Canadian Armed Forces members and other VIPs gathered to remember and reflect on Canada’s role in serving peace around the world.
According to Veterans Affairs Canada, 279 Canadians have died in the service of peace, including in the war in Afghanistan. August 9, 1974 saw the greatest single loss of Canadian life on a peacekeeping mission when nine Canadians were shot down in the course of their peacekeeping duties over Syria. For ten years, Canadians have gathered on that day to remember that sacrifice, and all others made in the name of peace.
Since the commencement of Canadian peacekeeping efforts, more than 125 000 Canadian peacekeepers have participated in international efforts in several countries and regions of the world. For over six decades, peacekeepers have helped protect human rights, provided security to help nations advance democracy and the rule of law, and provided humanitarian aid to those who have suffered greatly from the violence of war.
The ceremony was a somber reflection on the tireless efforts toward peace, and a time to look to the future and the challenges Canada, and Canadian peacekeepers, can expect.
“In our troubled world of today, many challenges remain world-wide, which seem to shroud our hopes for peace, but we are not deterred from capitalizing on every opportunity to progress towards tolerance and peace. It is our sincere hope that this progress will emerge from the clouds of instability and strife, that all may enjoy the tranquility and prosperity of peace,” explained Wayne Mac Culloch, CD, President of the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping (CAVUNP).
Canada’s proud history of peacekeeping continues today with the government’s increased commitment to the cause of peace in Mali. The Canadian Armed Forces has committed approximately 280 personnel to provide air support as part of Operation PRESENCE. The added capability to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) will help over 15 000 UN personnel dedicated to supporting peace in the region.
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