Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark the third annual Korean War Veterans Day:
“Today, we honour Canada’s Korean War veterans who fought to defend the Republic of Korea and help fortify its freedom and democracy in the face of Communist aggression.
“In July 1950, at a time of limited strength after the Second World War, Canada committed troops to the United Nations Forces in Korea, first dispatching three Royal Canadian Navy destroyers — HMCS Cayuga, Athabaskan and Sioux — to Korean waters. What followed would be among the largest military deployments in Canadian history, which included five more destroyers, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Army Special Force.
“Across the Korean peninsula and on the front lines, in rugged, desperate areas like Hill 677 in the Kapyong Valley, Hill 355, the village of Chail-li, the Chorwon Valley and the Imjin salient, more than 26,000 Canadians served between 1950 to 1953, and an additional 7,000 troops served until the end of 1955, following the signing of the Korea Armistice Agreement.
“Canada’s casualties during the Korean War numbered more than 1,500, including 516 who made the ultimate sacrifice. Nearly 400 Canadians rest in the United Nations Memorial Cemetery in Busan today.
“On this day, when we reflect on a time marked by extraordinary service and spirit, it is important to remember those brave Canadians who gave their lives and the sacrifices that their families made, as well as those who continue to serve with distinction and pride.”