Military service — including aiding Ontario LTC homes during COVID — honoured

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Members of Canada’s military were remembered for their service and sacrifice including those who came to the aid of Ontario’s nursing homes overwhelmed by COVID-19.

During Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Veteran’s Memorial at Queen’s Park, Premier Doug Ford said it has been 20 years since the 9/11 attacks and the start of the country’s mission in Afghanistan.

“Three thousand innocent victims including 24 Canadians lost their lives that day,” Ford said of 9/11. “Remembrance Day is a time all Ontarians pay tribute and honour the memory of those who have sacrificed for us, and show our gratitude to those heroes who still walk among us.

“As we stand here before the Veteran’s Memorial and the memorial to the Canadian heroes of the war in Afghanistan, let us acknowledge the courage and sacrifice of those who fought to protect Canada and our allies,” he said.

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Lisa MacLeod, minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, said her job in the legislature is to remind the public of the province’s strong heritage and history.

“We were able to do that this past week in the legislative assembly where we got to talk about the incredible contributions by so many men and women who fought for us in theatres of war worlds away and sometimes right here,” MacLeod said. “We’d also be remiss not to thank those in today’s military who served in our long-term care facilities across Ontario.”

During the pandemic, members of the military went into several homes with high resident death rates and serious staff shortages to provide critical support to frail residents who were living and dying in horrific conditions.

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Brig.-Gen. Peter Scott, commander of the 4th Canadian Division and Joint Task Force (Central), said millions of Canadians have proudly served the country in uniform, including those who fought in the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and in numerous peacekeeping missions around the world.

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On Nov. 11, the country recognizes their service as well as the ongoing sacrifices of those returning from Afghanistan, many with visible or invisible injuries, he said.

“During this important mission, 158 Canadian Armed Forces members died as well as seven Canadian civilians,” Scott said. “Countless others continue to suffer today in silence.”

Members of the military also served at home, helping vaccinate residents of remote First Nations communities against COVID-19, providing military medical assistance to Sunnybrook Hospital, and fire and evacuation support in the northern part of the province, he said.

aartuso@postmedia.com

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