OTTAWA, Aug. 15, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, issued the following statement to mark the 68th anniversary of the Victory over Japan (V-J Day) on August 15:
"As we mark the anniversary of the Victory over Japan and the end of the Second World War, we pay tribute to those Canadians who fought against difficult odds in the Far East in the defence of peace and freedom. It was 68 years ago that Japan surrendered to the Allies and Canada was finally able to begin welcoming home its heroes.
"More than 10,000 Canadians, serving on land, in the air and at sea, took part in the Far East campaign. Thousands were members of the Royal Canadian Air Force—many assigned to Royal Air Force units—who fought in the Allied efforts against the rapidly advancing Japanese forces in Malaya (now Malaysia), Singapore, Java (now Indonesia), Burma, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and India. Members of the Merchant Navy as well as the Royal Canadian Navy were also present in this theatre of war. They fought together with Allied forces from nations of the Commonwealth including the United Kingdom, India, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa as well as Russia, China, the United States, the Netherlands and France.
"Of the almost 2,000 Canadian soldiers who sailed to Hong Kong in late 1941, more than 550 would never see Canada again. Many died in the hard fighting there in December 1941. Unfortunately, the ordeal for the surviving Canadians was far from over and far too many more would die as prisoners of war in Japanese camps during more than three and a half years of captivity.
"It is our duty to honour the sacrifices and achievements that Canadians made with determination, courage and strength of character throughout the war in the Far East. Today, we express our gratitude for the extraordinary sacrifices they made for the peace and freedom we enjoy today."
For more information about Canada's efforts during the Second World War, 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