The Honourable Julian Fantino and Veterans speak to Vincent Massey Collegiate students, live from Italy, via video chat
MONTRÉAL, Nov. 27, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Canadian Veterans of the Italian Campaign took part in a live video chat from Rimini, Italy, with students at Vincent Massey Collegiate in Montréal.
During the 45-minute discussion forum, Minister Fantino and Veterans Sheridan Atkinson (Ridgetown, Ontario), Gordon Bannerman (Nanoose Bay, British Columbia) and Joseph Egglestone (Calgary, Alberta), responded to students' questions, recalled personal experiences and memories of their service in Italy, and shared their feelings on returning 70 years later. This unique experience allowed students to learn first-hand about this important chapter in Canadian history through the eyes of those who were there. The group also discussed the importance of remembrance and exchanged ideas about how youth can preserve the legacy of Canada's Veterans for future generations.
Minister Fantino and 28 Canadian Veterans are currently in Italy as part of an official Government of Canada delegation marking the 70th anniversary of the Italian Campaign. From November 24-28, the group is participating in commemorative ceremonies honouring the service and sacrifice of those who served in the campaign.
- Veteran Sheridan Atkinson served in Italy with the Royal Canadian Regiment. He was second in command of an anti-tank platoon consisting of 6 anti-tank guns manned by 56 men.
- Veteran Gordon Bannerman served in Italy with the 17th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery, 5th Armoured Division. He was a gunner sergeant, responsible for a "25-pounder" and a crew of six. He was promoted to sergeant major, responsible for the troop.
- Veteran Stewart Eggleston served with the Royal Canadian Air Force 417 Squadron Desert Air Force. He was an aircraft electrician for 11 months in support of 8th Army.
- Vincent Massey Collegiate students and staff have a rich history of engagement in remembrance through unique projects, including the creation of a remembrance garden and monument, commemorative murals and remembrance ceremonies.
- During the Second World War, more than 93,000 Canadians fought to liberate Italy and nearly 6,000 lost their lives.
- Commemorative ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the Italian Campaign are taking place in Italy from November 24-28, 2014, at the Cassino War Cemetery, Price of Peace monument in Ortona, Moro River Canadian War Cemetery and Villanova Canadian War Cemetery.
"Today's discussion was an important opportunity for students to hear, first-hand, about the remarkable contributions Canadian Veterans made in Italy. Engaging young Canadians in activities of remembrance, such as this one, will ensure the legacy of our brave men and women is preserved for future generations."
The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs
"On behalf of Vincent Massey Collegiate, I thank Minister Fantino and Veterans for sharing their personal and profound impressions and Italian Campaign-related experiences through this unique opportunity. In doing so, you have further educated, engaged and validated the commitment and dedication of our students, teachers and support staff in remembering our brave Canadian Veterans and the fallen."
John Pevec, Principal, Vincent Massey Collegiate
"Students and staff at Vincent Massey Collegiate are pleased to have the opportunity to take part in this important, once in a lifetime session. It is important that all Canadians, especially our youth, remember the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and our Veterans—past, present and future."
Rocco Speranza, Remembrance Committee and Spiritual Care, and Guidance and Community Involvement Animator, English Montreal School Board
Image with caption: "The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Canadian Veterans of the Italian Campaign took part in a live video chat from Rimini, Italy, with students at Vincent Massey Collegiate in Montréal (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141127_C5876_PHOTO_EN_8681.jpg
Image with caption: "Le ministre Julian Fantino et des vétérans de la campagne d'Italie soulignent l'importance de ne pas oublier à des élèves du collège Vincent Massey de Montréal par conférence vidéo en direct d'Italie (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20141127_C5876_PHOTO_EN_8683.jpg
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Barbara Mottram, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649 ; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468