OTTAWA, Aug. 11, 2013 /CNW/ - On behalf of the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Pierre Poilievre, Minister of State (Democratic Reform), today joined current and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other police forces from across Canada at the National Peacekeeping Monument to mark National Peacekeepers' Day.
"Canada has made key contributions to peacekeeping missions clear across the globe," said Minister Fantino. "Today, we honour Canadian Veterans who, through their selfless dedication and courage, have had a positive impact on the lives of many living in troubled regions around the world—bringing them hope for a better tomorrow."
"Canada's peacekeepers have served in incredibly difficult conditions and have stepped up in times of need," said Minister Poilievre. "By delivering humanitarian aid, helping refugees to return safely to their homes, training police forces and much more, Canadians in uniform have helped to make the world a safer place."
"Every Canadian should be aware of the accomplishments and contributions of those who serve in uniform," said the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence. "It is often at great risk that the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces defend our shared values of freedom, peace, and the rule of law around the world."
"Today, we honour brave Canadians who serve to ensure peace around the world," said the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Public Safety. "We honour members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and other police forces who have supported and continue to support peacekeeping and security operations."
National Peacekeepers' Day was first established in 2008, and August 9 was chosen to mark the greatest single-day loss of Canadian lives on a peacekeeping mission, which occurred on that date in 1974. All nine Canadian peacekeepers who were on a United Nations-marked Canadian transport aircraft were killed when their plane was shot down by Syrian missiles during a regular resupply mission.
"We continue to mark the ultimate sacrifice made by these nine Canadians and every other Canadian peacekeeper who preceded them or followed in their footsteps," said Ron Griffis, National President of the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping. "It is with great pride that we honour them today, and every other day, for their ongoing service being rendered throughout the world."
This year, the ceremony marked the 65th anniversary of Canada's participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations. A National Peacekeepers' Day event takes place each year in Ottawa on the Sunday nearest August 9 at Reconciliation, the National Peacekeeping Monument, with local events also taking place in communities across Canada on or about the official date.
For more information on peacekeeping operations, visit veterans.gc.ca.
2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to defend the Republic of Korea and uphold freedom, democracy and the rule of law. For more information on Canada's role in the Korean War, visit veterans.gc.ca.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada