Jim Davis flew in all the way from Nova Scotia to hear the name of his son, Cpl. Paul Davis, be called out and see it once again on the wall of fallen soldiers during the sixth annual Peacekeepers Day ceremonies in Peacekeepers Park in Calgary.
Davis died March 2, 2006, when a light armoured vehicle he was travelling in collided with a taxi and rolled over.
“It’s overwhelming and beautiful,” said Davis of the tribute. “Our fallen soldiers in Afghanistan are recognized here as peacekeepers and I think that’s wonderful.”
In total, 290 soldiers who have died during the peacekeeping mission were announced, including four external affairs diplomats, 44 peacekeepers killed in Korea during the ceasefire between July 1953 and December 1956, and 242 from missions in places such as Egypt, Croatia and Afghanistan since 1950.
After the names were read, 14 wreaths were placed in front of the wall, while overhead a CF 18 plane flew past.
This was the first year the names of those killed in Korea were inscribed on the wall and read out loud to the public.
Veteran Ed McDaw was 20 years old when he went to Korea back in 1952 and was brought to tears when he talked about soldiers who died on that mission finally being recognized here.
“We figure that they’ve all come home to rest,” said McDaw.
This year also saw the addition of a second wall, to continue to inscribe names of those who have fallen.
Don Ethell, liaison officer to Veteran Affairs Canada, said that the first wall was supposed to last 60 years based on the death rate since the Second World War.
“As you can see, there are 31 names on that second wall already,” said Ethell.
This has to do with the number of soldiers dying in Afghanistan, where 127 have fallen since the mission began in 2002.