Orillia Unit 400 – National Day of Honour Celebration

Army Navy Air Force Veterans in Canada Unit 400 Orillia invited local Veterans to dinner May 9th to commemorate the end of Canada’s mission in Afghanistan. They came from their homes, nursing homes; some from work in the community and at Base Borden.

The National Day of Honour was also celebrated in Ottawa and across Canada to mark the end of the 12 year engagement which over 40,000 members of our Canadian Forces participated. Canada’s mission in Afghanistan focussed on safeguarding the Afghan people from extremist insurgents and providing education, medical and economic assistance. This freedom came at a great price. 158 brave Canadian men and women paid the ultimate sacrifice. Over 2,000 of our members were wounded.

Unit 400 President Jack Gillard, his Executive, and President of the Women’s Auxiliary Barbara Allen, were at the head table along with current Member of Parliament for Simcoe North Mr. Bruce Stanton and his wife Heather. The guests of Honour were our Veterans: Afghanistan, WWII, Korea, former Peace Keepers, United Nations Emergency Force
as well as Southeast Asia (Vietnam). They stood together in reverence and appreciation for those who served and the fallen. Neither to be forgotten.

“This day we are honouring our young veterans on their return from their final deployment in Afghanistan. With their return, we also remember our past veterans who have assembled here to honour them” Jack Gillard said as he welcomed everyone. In his final address, Jack thanked our volunteers “for bringing together our past and future freedom providers.”

Mr. Stanton conveyed the position of the Government of Canada who has committed to commemorate the sacrifices provided by our Canadian Armed Forces by Royal Proclamation declaring May 9, 2014 a “National Day of Honour”. Mr. Stanton stated he was proud to be a part of the day of Honour and after dinner he shared many conversations and stories with the Veterans.

A wonderful dinner was prepared and served by ANAF Women’s Auxiliary and Unit Volunteers who interacted and chatted with the Veterans. The meal was a great success. There was laughter, camaraderie and reflective thought on the closing of yet another engaged conflict for Canada.

Barbara Allen, Women’s Auxiliary President, read aloud two poems written by WWII Army Veteran Charles Warrall in which he expressed insightful and perceptive thoughts on war. Afghanistan Veteran and ANAF Unit 400 member Corporal. Kyle Giffen was asked to stand and be acknowledged for his contribution and also for the contribution of his fellow servicemen and women who served in the Canadian Afghanistan Campaign.

“What it boils down to, is that we live in one of the most free countries in the world. For the most part our land has been unscathed by war and the reason for that is YOU” Barbara Allen voiced, “Webster never invented a word that can express our gratitude so we are left with a simple but heartfelt THANK YOU”

Reta Keeler
ANAF Unit 400 Orillia