Debert celebrates National Peacekeepers Day

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Debert Notebook, by Julie Johnstone

Event honours UN, NATO peacekeeping forces past, present, future

A small crowd gathered in front of the Debert Military Museum to celebrate National Peacekeepers Day on Aug 9.

The service began with a march by members of the Debert Legion Colour Party.

The brief ceremony paid respect to Canadian Peacekeepers past and present, and included words by Karen Casey, MLA for Colchester North; Doug McInnis, county councillor; Andrew King; and Susan Taylor, president of the Debert Military History Society. 

Though Canadian Peacekeepers have been making significant contributions around the world for more than 60 years, Aug. 9 was declared National Peacekeepers Day just six years ago in 2008.

The date was chosen to commemorate the loss of nine Canadian Peacekeepers when the United Nations transport plane they were travelling in was shot down by a Syrian missile on Aug. 9, 1974, killing all passengers and crew aboard. This tragedy was the largest single-day loss of life in Canadian forces peacekeeping history.

The 2014 National Peacekeepers Day celebration marked exactly 40 years since this tragedy took place.

Throughout the years the role of peacekeepers has been so important that in 1988 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to United Nations Peacekeeping Forces.

In her peacekeepers address, Susan Taylor recognized the more than 125,000 Canadians that have participated in more than 34 United Nations and NATO peacekeeping missions around the world.

“Although the UN was responsible for most of the peacekeeping missions, NATO also contributed and played a role in peacekeeping. So today we remember both UN and NATO troops around the world and especially our Canadian peacekeepers,” Taylor said. “As we watch the unfolding of events around the world today, we realize the role of the peacekeeper will be called upon far into the future.”

Taylor also acknowledged 25 years of peacekeeping duties by Canadian police officers from across the country.

Julie Johnstone is a married mother of two school-aged children, fiddle and step dance teacher and a community volunteer. She lives in North River. If you have any community news to report, send it to her at


Organizations: United Nations, Debert Military Museum, NATO Debert Legion Colour Party Debert Military History Society

Geographic location: Colchester North, North River

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