As Aug. 9 quickly approaches, many are unaware of a very important day, and perhaps week in some communities. It was on this day 38 years ago that one Canadian aircraft was shot down during a peacekeeping mission. This incident killed all nine personnel on board and was the largest loss of Canadian Peacekeepers lives in a single day.
This is the reason for the date choice, but it is now time to learn about the reasons to honour Canada’s Peacekeepers each year.
Officially established in 2008, National Peacekeeper’s day was formed to honour the Canadian Forces members who, each and every day, put their lives at risk for their country. They often leave their families and homes behind to bravely demonstrate our country’s values and contribute to international peace and security. Whether you believe in fighting wars or not, the majority of Canadians support the idea of aiding with keeping these events as peaceful as possible.
Every year in August, Canadian military members and veterans as well as police officers come together in ceremonies across the country to mark National Peacekeepers’ Day.
The national ceremony is held in Ottawa at the National Peacekeeping Monument on the Sunday closest to August 9. It is organized by the Canadian Association of Veterans of United Nations Peacekeeping, the Canadian Forces, Veterans’ Affairs Canada and the RCMP.
www.veterans.gc.ca offers many activities for youth and adults alike to participate in for this day without leaving the comfort of their own home or school. These activities include a program called Postcards for Peace, which provides an opportunity for youth to send postcards to express messages of thanks to those who served Canada in times of war, military conflict and peace or to still-serving Canadian Forces members. Another option is to complete the websites scavenger hunt, which in reality is just a small open-book quiz regarding Canadian Peacekeepers. The site also features many symbolic poems and stories to help everyone learn a little more about the importance of the Canadian Forces.
If you don’t wish to do any of these, the recognition can be as simple as thanking the local RCMP members for what they do each day for the town, or thanking someone who makes the world a better place for you.
You too can do your part. All it takes is a few simple minutes of research and you can help share the knowledge with your community and children. So on Aug. 9, don’t forget to appreciate what Canadian Peacekeepers do for you.