Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

February 09, 2012 22:09 ET

Minister Steven Blaney Honours Members of the Canadian Armed Forces at Winterlude 2012

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 9, 2012) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, together with Russell Mills, Chair of the National Capital Commission, illuminated an ice sculpture dedicated to members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have served in the former Yugoslavia since 1992 under the auspices of the United Nations. The ceremony took place as part of Winterlude 2012.

"Our Government is proud to honour the Canadian Armed Forces members who served courageously in this region of Europe which has been ravaged by war," said Minister Steven Blaney. "Thousands of brave Canadians, who served in this region, put their lives on the line in the defence of peace, freedom, democracy and the rule of law."

This is the eighth year that Veterans Affairs Canada has partnered with the National Capital Commission to create a commemorative ice sculpture as part of the Winterlude Festival. The sculpture, created with almost two tons of ice, portrays a Canadian soldier with children. The sculpture is surrounded by twenty pillars, representing twenty years of Canadian military participation in the Balkan States as part of a United Nations Protection Force.

"At the NCC, we work to make Canada's Capital Region a place where memories are honoured and where our stories are told," said Russell Mills, Chair of the National Capital Commission. "As part of this year's Winterlude, the NCC is pleased to collaborate, once again, with Veterans Affairs Canada to unveil this unique ice sculpture, in honour of Canadian peacekeepers who have served in the former Yugoslavia since 1992."

This year marks 20 years of Canada's commitment to peacekeeping in the former Yugoslavia as part of United Nations missions. For two decades, Canadian Armed Forces members have continued to serve in this region, making a difference as part of ongoing international peacekeeping efforts. In the 1990s, Canadian soldiers entered a full-fledged war zone, where they placed themselves in harm's way to protect the local population. They found themselves engaged in firefights to accomplish their mission-helping make the region secure.

Among those who have served in the region, two Canadian battalions (1st Battalion Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group and 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group) were awarded the prestigious Commander-in-Chief Unit Commendation for service of "a rare high standard in extremely hazardous circumstances" for action in Sarajevo and the Medak Pocket.

Canada's efforts have not come without sacrifice. Thousands of Canadian Armed Forces members have left the peace and security of their home to serve in the Balkans. In the process, 23 Canadians lost their lives, while many others returned injured.

For more information about Canada's military service in the Balkan States, visit veterans.gc.ca.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20120209-vetaffp1_800.jpg

Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    Veterans Affairs Canada
    613-992-7468

    Codie Taylor
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    613-996-4649