OTTAWA, Aug. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orléans, on behalf of the Honorable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff, today joined with Veterans, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and police officers at the National Peacekeeping Monument to mark National Peacekeepers' Day.
"Canada has a long and proud tradition in peacekeeping missions around the world," said Minister Blaney. "We honour these men and women who, through their courage and selfless dedication, have had a positive impact on the lives of those living in troubled regions around the world - bringing them hope for a better tomorrow."
"Canada has a well-earned international reputation for the highest standards in peacekeeping" said Mr. Galipeau. "For years we have drawn on the experience and commitment of our finest men and women from the Canadian Forces, the RCMP and other police forces - all of them dedicated to building a better, safer world."
Retired RCMP Assistant Commissioner Graham Muir presided over the ceremony and spoke of his service in peacekeeping missions overseas, the most recent being in Afghanistan.
"Today is about celebrating and thanking our Canadian peacekeepers for their contribution to the global peace effort," said Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety and Minister responsible for the RCMP. "Our police peacekeeping efforts help foreign police services build the capacity to maintain law and order while facilitating socio-economic development. Through these activities, we continue to build a more secure and stable world."
With music provided by the Band of the Ceremonial Guard and a C-17 flypast, the ceremony marked the 20th anniversary of the National Peacekeeping Monument "Reconciliation" unveiled in October 1992. "Reconciliation" was created as a tribute to Canadian peacekeepers after they were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1988. The event also highlighted 20 years of Canadian involvement in the Balkan region.
The ceremony recognized more than 125,000 Canadians who have laboured in the service of peace since 1948, and honoured the more than 275 who have given their lives. The Peacekeepers' Day ceremony is held every year on the Sunday closest to August 9th. On that day in 1974, nine Canadian peacekeepers lost their lives while serving with the United Nations Emergency Force in Egypt and Israel - the greatest single loss of Canadian lives on any peacekeeping mission. Parliament proclaimed August 9th as National Peacekeepers' Day in June 2008.
For more information on peacekeeping operations, visit veterans.gc.ca
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada