LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - June 28, 2012) -
Editors' Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.
The Honourable Steven Blaney, Canadian Minister of Veterans Affairs, and the Honourable Laurie Hawn, Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre, attended a ceremony with Canadian Bomber Command Veterans for the unveiling and dedication of the new Bomber Command Memorial in London's Green Park. The memorial honours all members of the Bomber Command from Allied countries and commemorates those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The Canadian delegation also included a Department of National Defence contingent led by Lieutenant-General André Deschamps, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
This memorial will serve as a reminder of the commitment and sacrifices made by our nation's truest heroes, helping to ensure their stories live on for future generations," said Minister Blaney. "The thousands of young Canadians who were an integral part of Bomber Command were an important factor in the Allied victory during the Second World War, and our Government recognizes their sacrifices and contributions."
"It is truly an honour to attend this special event with our Bomber Command Veterans who have travelled to London to witness the unveiling of a monument dedicated to their service and sacrifice," said the Honourable Laurie Hawn, a former fighter pilot, retired lieutenant-colonel after 30 years with the Royal Canadian Air Force. "They have come here today to honour the heroic efforts of all members of Bomber Command and it is evident by the emotion on their faces that they will never forget those who served alongside them, in particular those who made the ultimate sacrifice."
While in London for the unveiling, the Canadian Veterans reunited with their comrades from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
"It is with great pride that I represent the men and women of today's Royal Canadian Air Force and stand alongside Canadian Veterans of Bomber Command and other member nations of Bomber Command for the unveiling of this striking memorial that honours the bravery and sacrifices of our air force forefathers," said Lieutenant-General André Deschamps, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force. "Members of Canadian squadrons and No. 6 Bomber Group worked hand-in-hand with their Bomber Command allies to form a formidable offensive weapon to attack the German's military and industrial strengths. Their legacy of multinational cooperation and fortitude before danger and adversity remains with us today, and inspires us as we work together to provide air power to troubled areas like Afghanistan and Libya."
The efforts of the approximately 50,000 Canadians who served with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in Bomber Command operations over occupied Europe was one of our country's most important contributions during the Second World War.
During the Second World War, Canada had a population of only about 11 million people. Yet from that relatively small population, more than one million men and women would join the military to fight for peace and freedom. There were many roles in which a Canadian could serve during the Second World War but few held as much risk as the Air Force's Bomber Command. All told, some 55,000 of its Allied airmen, including approximately 10,000 Canadians, would lose their lives in training accidents, in the skies over Europe or in prisoner of war camps.
For more information on Canada's role in Bomber Command and the Second World War, visit www.veterans.gc.ca.
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