17th annual Peacekeepers Day honours Canadians killed in action

The 17th annual Peacekeepers Day took place on Sunday. honoruing soldiers that have lost their lives in operations across the globe. Josh Ritchie/Global News

Families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan, veterans and many others were on hand at Peacekeepers Park on Sunday for the 17th annual Peacekeepers Day ceremony.

The ceremony honours those that have fought overseas in peace support operations.

They are assignments that can turn volatile in an instant and have cost at least 130 Canadians their lives.

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Names of the fallen were read at the ceremony, and a special wreath ceremony was done.

For those who have lost their loved ones to these operations, it’s a ceremony to remember who the soldiers were.

“He went to Afghanistan in February of 2008 and he was killed on Aug. 20 of 2008,” said Leona Stock, who lost her son Stephan.

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“There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t miss him.”

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Right now, Canadians forces are in Mali, a mission that was expected to end in July but was extended to the end of August.

When troops are extended, it can leave families of the soldiers wondering when they will see their loved one again.

“It’s hard,” Ret. Major Linda Wright said. “If you expect somebody to return and then are told they’re not going to be returning, it’s difficult, but the saving grace is that they’re healthy.”

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Especially with a lack of contact, you have no choice but to wait out the return of your family.

“You just have to try and stay positive, you don’t have an option, but yeah, you worry all the time,” Stock said.

Global Affairs Canada says operations in Mali will gradually be restricted to only medical evacuations until Aug. 31.

Peace Support Operations may include peace-restoring, peace-enforcement, peace-making, peacekeeping, observer missions, humanitarian operations among many other missions.