VANCOUVER, April 20, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, and 36 Canadian Veterans of the Korean War will depart tomorrow for the Republic of Korea to participate in commemorative events marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. Through a partnership between the Republic of Korea and Veterans Affairs Canada, the trip recognizes the contributions of all Veterans who came to the aid of the people of South Korea more than 60 years ago.
"We honour the brave Canadians who upheld our country's values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law," said Minister Blaney. "This is a truly important journey as we return to Korea to commemorate and say to those who fought, and to those who died: 'we remember'."
Minister Blaney and Veterans will travel to the Republic of Korea from April 22 to 27. The signature event will include a commemorative ceremony at the Canadian Korean War Memorial Garden in Naechon on April 24. The Memorial Garden is located northeast of Gapyong-gun, just below the hills where the Battle of Kapyong (now referred to as Gapyeong) took place in April 1951. The Canadian Korean War Memorial Garden commemorates Canada's assistance during the Korean War.
"Our story needs to be told, and it being the Year of the Korean War Veteran in Canada means a lot to us who served in the Korean War. It helps us to know that our story will never be forgotten," said Mr. William (Bill) Harrison, Veteran of the Korean War. "I am looking forward to sharing this experience with other Korean War Veterans and revisiting Korea 60 years later."
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when North Korean forces invaded South Korea, beginning hostilities that lasted more than three years. More than 26,000 Canadian men and women served in the Korean War, and 516 gave their lives. Canada joined 15 other United Nations countries in sending combat forces.
Active hostilities ceased with the signing of the Armistice at Panmunjom on July 27, 1953. Following the Armistice, approximately 7,000 Canadians continued to serve in Korea until the end of 1955, with some troops remaining until 1957.
"They marched over the hills of Korea, endured the rough seas off Korea's shores and flew through dangerous skies, yet they prevailed against the powers of tyranny and injustice," said Minister Blaney. "When the United Nations came to Korea's aid with a multinational force, Canada answered the call by providing a larger contingent in proportion to its population than most of the other UN countries that fought there."
The names of 516 Canadians who died in service during the conflict are inscribed in the Korean War Book of Remembrance located in the Peace Tower in Ottawa. The Book will travel to Vancouver, from its permanent home in Ottawa, where it will be on display for Veterans prior to their departure to the Republic of Korea.
This trip is part of the Year of the Korean War Veteran which Minister Blaney announced in January. Canada proudly remembers the heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to uphold freedom, democracy and the rule of law.
SOURCE: Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information:
Media Relations Advisor
Veterans Affairs Canada
Jean-Christophe de Le Rue
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs