Thanks to our peacekeepers
(August 14, 2015) It was my pleasure on Aug. 9 to mark National Peacekeepers' Day in Angus.
This annual event puts a worthy spotlight on the thousands of people – many from Simcoe-Grey – who have donned the uniform and headed overseas on a peacekeeping mission.
In Angus, during the annual Peacekeepers' Parade, it was great to see so many members – past and present – of the military, police service, fire service and paramedic service.
At Peacekeepers' Memorial Park, I was honoured to spend time with so many people who have put themselves in harm's way in order to ensure peace in far-away lands.
It was a privilege to speak with them and to thank them for their service. We also can't forget the sacrifices their families have made in their absence.
CFB Borden has been a training ground for our military since the days of the First World War and many members of our armed forces live outside the base in communities across the riding. They are part of our social fabric. They belong to our clubs, sports teams and help in various ways make Simcoe-Grey the special place we all know it to be.
We owe our peacekeepers a debt of gratitude for all they have done and continue to do. Their efforts have touched thousands of lives in so many different ways.
If you've never attended the National Peacekeepers' Day in Angus, I strongly encourage you to mark the date on your calendar for next year. It's a special day the whole family can take part in.
The annual day in August, officially established in 2008, was chosen to mark the tragedy that unfolded on Aug. 9, 1974.
That's when nine Canadian peacekeepers serving in Egypt and Israel lost their lives. Their plane was shot down over Syria.
It's the largest single-day loss of Canadian Armed Forces personnel during a peacekeeping mission.
You might not know this, but two people from Simcoe-Grey – Acting Master Warrant Officer Cyril Korejwo and Cpl. Bruce Stringer – were on the plane that was shot down 41 years ago.
You can find the names of these two brave local men on the wall at Peacekeepers' Memorial Park.
In total, more than 125,000 Canadians have taken part in peacekeeping missions all over the world during the last six decades. Of this number, more than 3,500 have been police officers.
The first mission was in 1947 when Canadian troops travelled to Korea as observers. The term "peacekeeping" that we know today came into common use in 1956 during the Suez Crisis.
On Aug. 9 and throughout the year we will stand proudly with the men and women who perform the highly-respected and dangerous role of peacekeeper.