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Canada Halifax Sikhs Reach Out To Canadian Armed Forces


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Halifax Sikhs Reach Out To Canadian Armed Forces

by Sergeant TODD BERRY

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Not too long ago, the Maritime Sikh Society of Halifax opened its doors to the Canadian military.

Martin Singh, the society''s President, invited the Army''s Land Force Atlantic Area (LFAA) Commander, Brigadier-General Rick Parsons, to help the local Sikh community understand the role of their military forces operating in Afghanistan.

Martin stated that the overwhelming majority of Sikh families in Canada have or had a direct blood relative in the armed forces somewhere in the world. "So we wanted to reach out to the Canadian Armed Forces here and show our support."

Recent images from Afghanistan displayed on a large screen helped the speakers explain to a packed sangat exactly what their forces' roles, aims and goals are in the region.

"We have not seen the intensity and frequency of combat action since the Korean War, " said Brig-Gen. Parsons. He added that however unpleasant the fighting in Afghanistan might be, it is necessary if Afghanistan is to move forward.

"We''ve seen monumental progress in the social equality, justice and improvement in the overall quality of life for many Afghans," he said.
Major Harjit Singh Sajjan, member of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps and the second military guest speaker, continued the presentation.
He spoke about how Sikh-Canadians could be better engaged in the Canadian military, touching on a few of his recent experiences in Afghanistan.

"Just like in Afghanistan, the key role is understanding the local population. You need to understand the community. Find out what is important to them. When you understand that, you can then cater the message accordingly," said Maj. Harjit Singh, speaking on how he would recruit Sikh-Canadians into the Canadian Forces.

On completion of the military briefing, children from the Sikh community came forward and presented Brig-Gen. Parsons and Maj. Harjit Singh with a crafted Canadian flag made of white bristol board with red construction paper Maple Leafs.
Written messages and questions to the troops serving in Afghanistan were also passed on.

Please CLICK here to see VIDEO of the event.




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