The following information is courtesy of the National Peacekeeper’s Day website:
National Peacekeepers’ Day was established in Canada in 2008. It provides an opportunity for Canadians to express the pride and respect they have toward personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and provincial and municipal police forces, as well as Canadian diplomats and civilians who have worked in support of international peace and security operations.
More than 125,000 Canadian peacekeepers have participated in dozens of international efforts over the past six decades in countries all over the world. August 9 was selected as National Peacekeepers’ Day to recognize the greatest single 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 in the Middle East. It was the largest single-day loss of Canadian Armed Forces personnel in a peace support operation.
Canada has helped provide instrumental support to restore peace and security in areas devastated by conflict. Our peacekeepers play a vital and significant role in achieving these objectives while demonstrating compassion and courage. By marking this day, we can celebrate and express our gratitude to these men and women.
Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces personnel who have served in various peace support efforts will gather at events across the country to honour their comrades. A national ceremony is held each year in Ottawa at the Peacekeeping Monument on the Sunday closest to August 9 so this year it will be held on Sunday, August 13. It is organized by the local chapter of the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping, the Canadian Armed Forces, Veterans Affairs Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
The organizers of this year’s event wrote to RAC noting “the role played by Amateur Radio operators in allowing peacekeepers to remain in touch with family and friends in the era before instant personal digital communications” and inviting RAC to send a representative.
RAC President Glenn MacDonell, VE3XRN, wrote the following in his President’s Message in the July-August 2017 issue of The Canadian Amateur magazine:
It is moving to know that those who served Canada as Peacekeepers remember the important role played by volunteer Radio Amateurs in maintaining links with home.
Phone patches are no longer key technologies for us, but Radio Amateurs continue to find ways to use their skills and innovative technology to serve their communities.
I will be honoured to represent RAC at the ceremony.”
Stay tuned to the RAC website for more information as the event approaches.