The National Day of Honour was marked at Kelowna International Airport Friday with the unveiling of a plaque by the British Columbia Dragoons, Okangan Valley’s military regiment.
The plaque, recognizing the 33 members of the Canadian Armed Forces from the Okanagan who served in the 12-year Afghanistan combat mission, will be mounted above the Coming Home sculpture in the terminal that depicts a returning solider being greeted by a child.
“The BC Dragoons have a long history in the Okanagan and close ties to YLW,” said Chair of the Airport Advisory and City of Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray. “This regiment was a part of the original airport terminal building dedication in 1968; as well, many members of this unit have been deployed on United National and NATO missions through YLW, including 33 men and women to the War in Afghanistan.”
The National Day of Honour was designated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in recognition and commemoration of Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan and the sacrifices made by both the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families.
More than 100 people came out to YLW for the dedication ceremony by the B.C. Dragoons, including local MP Ron Cannan, many former and retired members of the Canadian Forces, current serving members, representatives of the Royal Canadian Legion and airport tenants.
Coming Home was presented to the City of Kelowna on May 14, 2011 by the British Columbia Dragoons in honour of the regiment’s centennial celebrations.
The airport was chosen for the plaque because it was both the “jumping off” and returning point for Okanagan soldiers who headed to, and returned from, Afghanistan, said regimental Sgt.-Maj. Sean Parker.
The British Columbia Dragoons is a reserve armoured regiment based in Kelowna and Vernon. The Dragoons earned 12 battle honours in the Second World War and has also provided individual members and formed sub-units to the regular force for United Nations operations.