OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 17, 2012) - For 187 soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen of all ranks and occupations from across Canada, today marked the first leg of their 160 km march as part of the 96th annual International Four Days Marches Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
"The Canadian Forces' participation in the Nijmegen Marches serves as a reminder of Canada's distinguished past and current service in Europe," said the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence. "The Nijmegen Marches provide Canadian Forces members with an unparalleled experience, and this year's journey is made all the more exceptional thanks to the determination of our participating ill and injured personnel. We are thinking of all of our men and women today as they embark on this adventure of a lifetime."
Led by Brigadier-General Kevin Cotten, Project Leader for the Military Personnel Management Capability Transformation, this year's Canadian Forces (CF) contingent, includes, for the first time, a team of 10 ill and injured marchers. During the months of training required to prepare for the marches, candidates raised money for donation to the Military Families and Soldier On funds.
"The Nijmegen Marches is an excellent fitness activity and endurance test that builds morale and helps maintain core military values, including leadership and teamwork, in all participants," said Brig.-Gen. Cotten. "This experience is also an excellent opportunity for cultural exchange between Canadians and citizens of other nations."
On July 14, this year's CF contingent attended the ceremony at Vimy Ridge, to commemorate Canada's legacy in Europe. On the third day of the marches, CF participants will pay their respects to our fallen at the Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery, the final resting place of more than 2300 Canadian soldiers and airmen who died fighting to liberate the Netherlands in 1944 and 1945.
In order to complete this prestigious and arduous long-distance walking event, each participant will march 40 km a day for four days while wearing standard combat clothing and carrying a military rucksack weighing at least 10 kg. The Nijmegen Marches give CF members great professional development experience. Members of the CF contingent march in a spirit of international camaraderie with military and civilian participants from around the world.
The Nijmegen Marches represent the world's largest walking event. Over 45 000 marchers from more than 50 nations, as well as over a million spectators, are expected to participate this year. The Nijmegen Marches will conclude on July 20, 2012.
Notes to editor / news director: Media agencies can request interviews with CF personnel in Nijmegen by contacting Capt Linda Coleman, Joint Task Force Nijmegen Public Affairs officer at 613-404-2701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still imagery will be available on the Canadian Forces Image Gallery at: www.combatcamera.forces.gc.ca.
Imagery and stories of the Nijmegen Marches will be posted on the following website: http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/nij-nim/index-eng.asp.
For more information about the CF's participation in the Nijmegen Marches, please consult the following link: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=4308.
For the most recent news stories, videos and photos of CF training and participation in the Nijmegen Marches, media can visit the official Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/JointTaskForceNijmegen.