Every year on the Sunday that falls closest to August 9th, we honour our fallen Peacekeepers and the Memorial Cross Families of fallen Peacekeepers whose names will forever be engraved upon the Wall of Honour at Calgary’s Peacekeeper Park in Garrison Green.
On National Peacekeepers Day, Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces personnel who have served in various peace support efforts gather at events across the country to honour their comrades. A national ceremony is held each year in Ottawa, and in various places across the nation. In Calgary, the ceremony will be held on the 12th August at 11:00am at Peacekeeper Park in S. W. Calgary. Please join us.
Since 1948, Canada has provided Peacekeeping soldiers for service around the world in an effort to support the United Nations in its efforts to help bring peace to troubled lands. The Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping (CAVUNP) was established in 1986 to honour fallen Peacekeepers and to support the families of those who willingly offered the supreme sacrifice.
Canadians have served on United Nations Peace Enforcement and Peacekeeping in disputed territories around the world including Korea, the Congo, Cyprus, Bosnia, Croatia, Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, Haiti, Central African Republic, Vietnam, Rwanda, and Afghanistan. During these missions, dozens of Canadian military personnel have given their lives in the service of peace.
On the 9th August, 1974, during the United Nations peace mission in Egypt, on a flight to Damascus, the Canadian Buffalo aircraft # 115461 was shot down by Syrian Armed forces killing all 9 Canadian military personnel on board. The Syrians claimed it was an accident. During over 65 years of U.N. International Peace Support operations, this was the biggest loss of life during which Canadian soldiers have been involved. On National PeaceKeepers Day, we honour our fallen Peacekeepers, including the “Buffalo Nine.”
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.