Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

July 18, 2012 16:53 ET

Hometowner: Sydney Mines Native Experiences the March of a Lifetime

NIJMEGEN, THE NETHERLANDS--(Marketwire - July 18, 2012) - Major Shannon King from Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia will be participating in something very few Canadians have the opportunity to experience - a four day march through the Dutch country side, marching along the same paths where many Canadians fought and died during WWII, including Major King's own grandfather, Lou Matthews, who was one of the lucky ones and survived the war.

"I feel very honoured to be participating in the Nijmegen Marches" said Major King. My grandfather was stationed in Nijmegen during the end of WWII with the Cape Breton Highlanders. I'm very much looking forward to learning more about his experience."

Over 7 600 Canadians died in the nine-month campaign between 1944-1945 to liberate the Netherlands and carry the war to its conclusion-a sacrifice the Dutch have never forgotten. Today, Canadians and the Dutch remember these historic events during the Nijmegen Marches, including a remembrance ceremony at Groesbeek Cemetery, and celebrate the lasting bonds that were created between the two nations.

Known as the International Four Days Marches Nijmegen, the Canadian Forces have been participating in this annual event since 1952, marking this year as the 60th anniversary. From July 17-20, 2012, a Canadian military contingent of 187 Canadian Forces members from across the country will march a total of 160 km while wearing standard combat clothing and carrying a military backpack weighing at least 10 kg. Major King, a member of the Canadian Army with the Canadian Special Operations.

Forces Command stationed in Ottawa, is participating in her first Nijmegen Marches. She, and her 10 other team mates, have been training as a team for months in all types of weather conditions to meet the required minimum of marching 700 to 1000 km - a pre-requisite to be selected for the Canadian contingent.

"It's a physical challenge to say the least, but I'm participating in Nijmegen for overall experience," said Major King. "The sense of camaraderie, marching and singing with other nations, and seeing the reaction of the local Dutch population to Canadians is overwhelming," added King, who has just completed day two of the four-day marches.

Major King is scheduled to complete the Nijmegen Marches on July 20, 2012 and if successful will receive the Four Day Marches Cross.

Still imagery will be available on the Canadian Forces Image Gallery at: www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca.

For more information about the CF's participation in the Nijmegen Marches, please consult the following link: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=4308.

For the most recent news stories, videos and photos of CF training and participation in the Nijmegen Marches, media can visit the official Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/JointTaskForceNijmegen.

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