As a veteran of the Second World War, Lorne Constantineau said he likes the idea of peacekeeping.
“If you let one country in there and just them go, you're going to have the same things that happened in '39 or '40,” he said.
“Somebody gets control of everything and they do as they please. There's nothing we can say about it. This way you've got peacekeepers there at least. It changes their attitude.”
The 90-year-old was among those who attended the National Peacekeepers Day cenotaph service at the Lockerby Legion Aug. 9.
The event — established in 2008 — commemorates the day in 1974 when nine Canadian peacekeepers were killed after their aircraft was shot down in Syria.
The local ceremony is organized by the Sudbury chapter of the UN/NATO Veterans of Canada, and honours veterans of peacekeeping missions.
In particular, this year's service paid tribute to three members of the group that have passed away in recent years — Lloyd Hartley, Yvon Briere and Carl Steed.
The event was similar to a Remembrance Day service, with veterans laying wreaths and reciting John McCrae's classic poem, “In Flanders Fields.”
Dan Draper, a veteran of the peacekeeping mission in Cyprus in the mid-80s, as well as the first Gulf War in the early 90s, said peacekeeping presents many challenges.
“It's very difficult,” he said. “You're put in between two countries that are in a conflict, and you have to create peace between the two of them.”
The service was attended by several politicians and political hopefuls, including Nickel Belt MP Claude Gravelle, Ward 5 Coun. and mayoral candidate Ron Dupuis and Richard Majkot, also a mayoral hopeful.
Gravelle said Canada has become known as a peacekeeping nation.
“We have to remember our veterans who went to war or went on peacekeeping missions, so we can have a safe country here in Canada,” he said.
“We have one of the safest countries in the world, we have one of the most democratic countries in the world, and it's all because of the veterans.”