OTTAWA, Sept. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, issued the following statement today to mark Merchant Navy Veterans Day on Tuesday, September 3.
"Those who served in Canada's Merchant Navy played a critical role both overseas and in Canada during the First and Second World Wars. As they carried desperately needed equipment, fuel, goods and personnel around the world, merchant mariners showed tremendous bravery on the ocean battlefield knowing that their ships were in the middle of enemy action.
"During the Second World War, the Canadian Merchant Navy suffered heavily, losing one in eight sailors from the 12,000 who served on Canadian, British and other Allied merchant ships. Some were captured when their ships were attacked and would spend as many as four years as prisoners of war.
"The men and women of the Canadian Merchant Navy demonstrated courage, fortitude and determination in the two world wars. They kept their ships sailing through the terrible years of unparalleled loss. Today, we pay tribute to all of Canada's merchant mariners and solemnly remember the more than 2,100 sailors among them who gave their lives so that we could have the peace and freedom we enjoy today.
"Canada will continue to recall the heroic efforts of those who fought for freedom, remember their accomplishments and sacrifices and thank them for service in the name our nation."
For more information on Merchant Navy Veterans Day, please 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