Remember our fallen on Nov. 11

Next Tuesday marks Remembrance Day in Canada.
The First World War ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. We use that time and date to recognize our veterans who have carried our flag to nations around the world in the name of peace and humanitarian aid.
Historically, we first recognized our First World War veterans, then our Second World War veterans, and later the veterans from the Korean War.
Yet since the Korean War, Canadians have carried the ensign (and later the Maple Leaf) on their lapels to nations across the globe in the name of peace. They, too, are veterans who deserve to be recognized for their contribution to peace in the world.
Canadians have participated in almost every United Nations’ peacekeeping mission. There have been 49 completed UN missions and today there are 17 active ones.
During the Cold War, our aircraft and ships patrolled the skies and oceans. Our troops were dispatched to Germany and were part of NATO’s front-line defence in Europe.
Beginning in 1948, Canadian peacekeepers were dispatched to the border of the newly-created nation of Israel to act as observers to maintain the peace. In 1956, Canada dispatched peacekeepers to the Suez Canal as part of the United Nations Emergency Force.
Today, our forces are actively involved in Afghanistan, with on average 2,500 troops on the ground at any one time. Their mandate is to stay to 2011 in hopes that nation will be stabilized and a political solution will be reached.
The mission so far has cost the lives of 100 Canadian soldiers, a diplomat, and two aid workers.
In addition, the Canadian Navy has been patrolling the waters around Iraq as part of Canada’s contribution to “Operation Enduring Freedom.”
Some 1,900 members of the Canadian Forces found their way to the Congo between 1960 and 1964. Canada returned to the Congo in 1999 and continue to be found there today.
Beginning in 1964 and continuing through to today, Canadian men and women continue to serve as part of “Operation Snowgoose” in Cyprus.
Canadian observers and peacekeepers have been found in the Middle East, including the borders of Syria/Israel, the Sinai peninsula, and Egypt, since 1973. Many missions are ongoing with no end in sight while others have been short-lived.
For instance, our forces, including the air wing, operated in Kosovo for only three years.
When called upon, our service personnel have provided emergency aid to civilians following massive natural disasters. Following the tsunami in the Indian Ocean on Dec. 26, 2004, the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) was sent to Sri Lanka, where they treated more than 7,600 patients, produced 3.5 million litres of drinking water, and repaired schools and constructed temporary shelters.
Since the formation of DART, Canadian forces also have provided assistance to Turkey and Honduras.
All of those veterans, both men and women, should be recognized next Tuesday.
Our forces have been standing on guard for us. Take the time Nov. 11 to attend a Remembrance Day service in your community.

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