OTTAWA – The death of a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) member is felt by Canadians across the country. But no one suffers more than the member’s close friends and family.
The creation of the Memorial Ribbon, a memento of personal loss and sacrifice, was announced November 6, 2012, and is being offered to close family and friends of deceased CAF members. As of April 2013, 70 Memorial Ribbons had been given out to family members or close friends of fallen CAF members with more applications being processed daily.
Memorial Ribbons may be issued in commemoration of every CAF member whose death is attributed to duty-related injury or illness sustained on or after October 1, 1947. This date coincides with the first date inscribed in Veterans Affairs Canada’s Seventh Book of Remembrance.
The Memorial Ribbon is now part of the Memorial Package, which also includes the Memorial Cross, the Memorial Scroll, the Memorial Bar, the Sacrifice Medal, and inscription in the Seventh Book of Remembrance.
Previously, when a CAF member passed away, the family received up to three Memorial Crosses as a memento. The Cross is traditionally sent to the parents and widow of a deceased soldier.
The new Memorial Ribbon compliments the Memorial Cross by expanding eligibility to a greater number of family members and close friends as well as to those who were previously ineligible to receive the Memorial Cross. This also presents the opportunity for children to receive a special token to remember and honour their loved one.
“I know everyone in my family will cherish the Memorial Ribbons,” said Mr. Mark Marin, whose father, Flying Officer Boris Jaroslav Pasichniak, served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. “I am thankful to the [Memorial Ribbon] program for their efforts in facilitating the receipt of these ribbons for our family.”
Flying Officer Pasichniak left the service after the Second World War but rejoined in 1951. He served as a member of 418 Squadron at Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Station Edmonton until his death on June 30, 1952, when his aircraft crashed during a training mission over the Yukon.
Mr. Marin’s family received five Ribbons in Flying Officer Pasichniak’s honour in February 2013. The ribbons were distributed between Flying Officer Pasichniak’s closest relatives: his widow, his son (Mr. Marin), his two daughters and a nephew with whom he shared a mutual appreciation of the air force.
The Ribbons are assembled by hand at the Directorate of Honours and Recognition with the care and attention befitting the sacrifice of the families of our fallen.
“When I visited the Directorate of Honours and Recognition, it was evident that everyone there understands the importance of their efforts and what this token of recognition means to our families”, said Major-General David Millar, Chief of Military Personnel.
The Ribbons will be issued automatically for deaths which occurred on or after November 6, 2012, and when the death is clearly attributable to service such as in the case of direct hostile action, accidents while on training, and other similar circumstances.
For deaths which occurred between October 1, 1947 and November 5, 2012, application forms must be sent to the Directorate of Honours and Recognition (DH&R). Ribbons will not be issued until the Directorate has validated the information.
DND’s Directorate of Honours and Recognition is responsible for the administration of the Memorial Ribbon on behalf of the Government of Canada.
For more information on the Memorial Ribbon or to access on-line the application form, please consult the Directorate of Honours and Recognition’s website at: http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhr-ddhr/chc-tdh/chart-tableau-eng.asp?ref=MemR or contact the Memorial Ribbon project directly by e-mail at Ribbon.Ruban@forces.gc.ca or by telephone at 1-855-433-2976.