19 March 2014. Ottawa. The Conference of Defence Associations (CDA) welcomes and supports the declaration of a “National Day of Honour” on May 9, 2014 to commemorate the efforts and “sacrifices made by members of the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan.” The announcement was made yesterday by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the return home of the last members of Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan.

With the deployment of over 40,000 members to Afghanistan since October 2001, the Canadian Armed Forces shouldered a heavy burden of the international community’s efforts to, in the words of the Prime Minister, “defeat terrorism as well as promote security, development, and governance so that Afghans can build a viable, stable, secure and better governed country”. Sadly, the sacrifices were indeed high, with 158 Canadian servicemen and women, one diplomat, one journalist and two civilian consultants killed – with many suffering from physical and non-physical injuries – while serving the Afghan mission. Their sacrifice must never be forgotten.

As Canadians embark on a period of reflection leading up to this National Day of Honour, the CDA calls on the Canadian Government to ensure that the servicemen and women who served the Afghanistan mission receive the support they deserve as they cope with the aftermath of their duty. The CDA wishes to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of ALL Canadians who served in Afghanistan, not just the military. These officials shared all, most or many of the privations and dangers of their military counterparts, often for the first time and without the training beforehand, or support during or after their deployment. Their service should be marked and commemorated as well.

The CDA also reminds Canadians that while the Canadian military mission has ended, a number of Canadians continue to serve in Afghanistan as reconstruction, security and governance reform, and development initiatives continue as part of the international effort.

Please direct any enquiries to Tony Battista, executive director of the CDA at 613-236-1252 or by email execdirector@cda-cdai.ca