By Richard Lawrence
On August 7 current and past serving peacekeepers gathered at the Reconciliation Monument in Ottawa to remember peacekeepers who have lost their lives, those who served, and those still serving. The Remembrance Ceremony takes place at the Monument on the Sunday closest to National Peacekeepers Day, which is August 9. This date was selected as the day to remember peacekeepers because it was on that day in 1974 that the single largest loss of lives on a peacekeeping mission occurred when a United Nations-marked Canadian aircraft was shot down by Syrian missiles.
The day was warm for those on parade. The parade consisted of small contingents of military veterans of UN peacekeeping missions, current serving military members, and a contingent from various police forces (OPP, Ottawa Police, RCMP, Sûreté du Québec, to name a few) and had as its reviewing officer Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, newly minted on August 5 as the Vice Chief of Defence Staff. Opening remarks were delivered by Wayne MacCulloch, National President of the Canadian Association of Veterans in UN Peacekeeping (CAVUNP), after which the Acts of Remembrance and the Commitment to Remember were recited followed by a fly-by of two Griffon helicopters. Instead of laying wreaths, bouquets of flowers were placed in three shell casings: one by MP Francis Drouin and Vice-Admiral Mark Norman; the second by RCMP Asst. Commissioner Serge Theriault; and the last by Mrs. Kathleen Mansour (a Silver Cross Mother) and family with Mr. MacCulloch. Mr. Drouin then delivered remarks, followed by Vice-Admiral Norman, who made reference to Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson's words that are engraved on the monument:
"We need action not only to end the fighting but to make the peace, and that captures the essence of what everyone of you have done."
Following the remarks, the ceremony was completed and parade members adjourned to the Earl of Sussex Pub for a buffet lunch and a presentation to MWO Jason Pickard for his years of assistance to the CAVUNP.
For more photos from this event click here: http://www.richardlawrencephotography.ca/rlpgalleries/2016/un2016