Media Advisory with quote from Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy
Merchant Navy Veterans Day
Ceremony at the National War Memorial
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Ottawa - Members of the media and the public are invited to attend a wreath laying ceremony at the National War Memorial to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Merchant Navy Day of Remembrance, under Bill C-411, An Act to establish Merchant Navy Veterans Day.
During the Second World War, a total of 25,343 merchant ships, with 164,783,921 tons of cargo on board, sailed from North America to Britain. The Canadian Merchant Navy suffered the highest losses, losing one seafarer in eight of the 12,000 who served in the crews of the Canadian, British, and Allied merchant ships – there are only (approximately) 1,000 that remain. In total, 70 Canadian Merchant ships were sunk, with over 1,700 Merchant Navy personnel losing their lives due to enemy action.
"As fellow mariners, the members of today's Royal Canadian Navy have tremendous respect for the men and women of the Canadian Merchant Navy," says Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander RCN. "These merchant sailors were the front line in a campaign that was waged crossing after crossing, convoy battle after battle, year after year, with the knowledge that each watch could be their last."
Today, the typical age of our Merchant Seaman is mid-to-late 80s and 90s, and the attrition rate is very high. Sadly, this may well be the last year for a large gathering of our aging and ailing Veterans in Canada.
This commemorative ceremony will include representatives from Canadian Veterans' organizations, a small youth contingent of cadets, Parliamentarians, various government representatives, members of the diplomatic corps, and more.
Let us now stand united, without hesitation, and demonstrate our unwavering support to the remaining men and women of the Canadian and Allied Merchant Navies. No human being is beyond owing them their due recognition. Let Canadians and members of the international community come together, and show our Veterans how much we appreciate our FREEDOM, and that we are eternally grateful to them for ensuring its preservation.
Date: Sunday, September 8, 2013
Location: National War Memorial, Ottawa, Ontario
Merchant Navy Commemorative Theme Project (MNCTP)