07/28/2014 12:37 EDT | Updated 09/27/2014 05:59 EDT

Julian Fantino Unveils Korean War Monument Marking 61st Anniversary Of Armistice To End War


BURLINGTON, Ont. - A monument dedicated to eight Royal Canadian Navy ships that served in the Korean War was unveiled in Burlington, Ont., Monday, to mark the 61st anniversary of the armistice to end the war.

The black granite structure — in Spencer Smith Park — is inscribed with the names of nine crew members who were either lost at sea or killed in action during the conflict that lasted from 1950-53.

In 2013, the Canadian government declared July 27 Korean War Veterans Day.

Minister of Veterans Affairs Julian Fantino said it's an opportunity to reflect on the bravery and sacrifice of more than 26,000 Canadians who served.

"I encourage all Canadians to take a moment to think about the contributions of those who served in the Korean War and all conflicts in our history," he said.

Between 2.5 million and four million people are believed to have died during the war.

The Korean Armistice Agreement means the two Koreas are still technically at war, separated by a heavily-fortified demilitarized zone.

Fantino said during the war, a total of 516 Canadians "courageously lost their lives" to defend the democratic rights of what is known today as the Republic of Korea.

"More than 60 years ago, these young men and women left their homes and families — put their entire lives on hold — to travel halfway around the world to fight for freedom of a people they knew very little about," he said.

The memorial in Burlington, funded partly through the government's Community War Memorial Program, honours destroyers that served in the waters off Korea from 1950 to 1955.

Fantino said monuments are an "important focal point for community remembrance, reflection, and commemoration."

Also on HuffPost

Photo gallery Current MPs With Military Experience See Gallery