Nestled within the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s serene landscapes sits a sombre monument dedicated to the Canadian heroes who sacrificed everything in the pursuit of peace and freedom.
“The Kapyong monument at Radar Hill is a place where locals and visitors can reflect on Canada’s past and the sacrifices made by Canadians who risked so much to serve our nation. We will always remember,” a Parks Canada spokesperson told the Westerly News.
Over 26,000 Canadians served in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.
The battle of Kapyong, considered a key turning point in the war, was fought from April 22-25, 1951, and the Canadian soldiers of the 2nd Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry helped prevent a potentially costly defeat for the South Korean and United Nations forces.
“The nighttime battle required unimaginable bravery. It cost 10 Canadians their lives and left another 23 wounded. The heroic efforts of these soldiers and the Battalion as a whole did not go unnoticed. The 2nd Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry was awarded the United States Presidential Unit Citation – a very rare honour for a Canadian unit,” the spokesperson said.
Canada’s role in the war helped forge a lasting friendship between Canada and the Republic of Korea and the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve was symbolically twinned with Hallyo Haesang Sea National Park of Korea in 1997.
In 1998, a cairn was installed at Radar Hill in the Park Reserve to honour the service of Canadian troops and their heroic achievement in the battle of Kapyong.
Since then, the Park Reserve has worked with the Korea Veterans Association to host an annual event commemorating the 1951 battle every April with past guests including Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry PPCLI Association, International Korea Veterans Association, Consulate General of the Republic of Korea, Korean Veterans Association and Senator Yonah Martin.
“This ceremony has been an opportunity to recognize the veterans that selflessly served their country and to remember those who did not come home,” the Park Reserve’s Public Relations and Communications Officer Crystal Bolduc told the Westerly. “Every year this ceremony impresses upon me the very special bond veterans have with one another and how we, as Canadians, are so lucky to have the many selfless men and women who have sacrificed so much for our Country.”
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