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Solemn Calgary ceremony honours fallen Peacekeepers

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Solemn Calgary ceremony honours fallen Peacekeepers

Post by Guest on Mon 14 Aug 2017, 14:13

Solemn Calgary ceremony honours fallen Peacekeepers

James Blake, of Calgary (L) and Gary Littlewood, of Coleman, AB pose as they look at a statue during Peacekeeper's Day in Calgary Sunday, August 13, 2017. The two former soldiers have well over 50 years military service between them all over Europe and the Middle East. Jim Wells/Postmedia


Aug 13, 2017

CALGARY - Two-hundred and seventy-five names of fallen Canadian soldiers echoed over the microphone at the annual Peacekeepers Day Sunday morning.

A crowd of about 200 sat in front of the memorial wall at Peacekeeper Park in Garrison Green. At the front of the crowded lawn were people adorned with yellow ribbons to commemorate the loss of a family member who died on peacekeeping and peace support operations.

One name engraved on the stone wall was Cpl. Bryce Keller who died in Kandahar, Afghanistan on Aug. 3, 2006 and was awarded the Medal of Military Valour after his death.

He died at 27 while protecting the lives of his fellow soldiers of the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

Under enemy fire, Keller fought to protect his comrades while they attended to a wounded solider. Although he paid the ultimate sacrifice that day, his actions saved lives and enabled his platoon to hold vital terrain until reinforcements arrived.

His proud parents laid a single red rose next to the memorial wall after the ceremony finished.

With tears in her eyes, his mother Helen Keller said "he was the joy of our life."

"He joined after 9/11 and he wanted to make sure that he fought against the bad people, the terrorists. He wanted to make sure Canada was safe," said Helen.

His dad, Mel Keller, said his son was a born leader with protective instincts.

"That's one of the reasons why 11 Canadian soldiers came home Aug. 3," said Mel. "He was not going to let those guys come into any harm."

Two other soldiers died alongside Keller. Sgt. Vaughn Ingram and Pte. Kevin Dallaire were killed after Taliban militants attacked the soldiers with rocket-propelled grenades.

Both the Dallaire and Keller families were guests of honour at the ceremony.

Many attendees wore the distinctive blue berets a symbol of peacekeeping known around the world.

Peacekeepers represent the finest Canada has to offer, said Rick Wright, Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeeping vice-president.

"Their commitment, bravery and dedication in the most hostile situations often serve as a (bright) light in a world sometimes gone seemingly mad. To hundreds of thousands of people around the world, Canadian soldiers, sailors, airmen and women serving on peace support operations have come to represent peace for today and hope for tomorrow," said Wright.

Helen said the community who comes together to support the fallen soldiers is comforting in light of her loss.


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