Veteran Stories:
Daniel Drapeau

Army

  • Canadian Forces member in Cyprus, standing for a promotional photo. Mr. Drapeau worked with the same type of vehicle during his tour in Cyprus.

    Canadian Forces member in Cyprus, standing for a promotional photo. Mr. Drapeau worked with the same type of vehicle during his tour in Cyprus.
  • Daniel Drapeau in a formal protrait wearing his dress uniform. Above his photo is the insingia of his regiment.

    Daniel Drapeau in a formal protrait wearing his dress uniform. Above his photo is the insingia of his regiment.
  • Two reconnaissance vehicles parked while soldiers take care of necessities like brushing their teeth. This photo shows how in army life, your vehicle becomes your home.

    Two reconnaissance vehicles parked while soldiers take care of necessities like brushing their teeth. This photo shows how in army life, your vehicle becomes your home.
  • Photo from a training and prep area in Quebec, for service in different climates and terrains.

    Photo from a training and prep area in Quebec, for service in different climates and terrains.
  • armoured personnel carrier used by UN forces in Cyprus.

    armoured personnel carrier used by UN forces in Cyprus.
  • An armoured personnel carrier near the Transport Section at Blue Beret Camp, in Cyprus. Daniel and his comrades had to drive through "no man's land" in armoured personnel carrier about once a week.

    Anarmoured personnel carrier near the Transport Section at Blue Beret Camp, in Cyprus. Daniel and his comrades had to drive through "no man's land" in armoured personnel carrier about once a week.
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Transcript

My name is Daniel Drapeau. In 1977, when I was nineteen years old, I served with the United Nations in Cyprus. I was proud and honoured to wear the Canadian flag on my shoulder. There I saw the scar of war, where time had stopped in the green line and in no man's land. This was seen through abandoned buildings, vehicles, and airplane wrecks. I met people who lost relatives and everything they owned because of the war. Within seven months I grew up a lot as I realized how lucky we were in Canada.

In Cyprus I saw the elderly being forced into work, as there was no other source of income. Before I left for Canada there was the impression from others that I was going on vacation for six months. A few days after I arrived in Cyprus, my friend and I were in the supply building when he showed me an empty coffin they had in case. At that point I prayed to God that we would never have to use it.

One day I saw a vehicle from another United Nations contingent burning. I was told that the driver drove on the shoulder of the road to allow another vehicle to pass and accidentally drove over a forgotten mine.

On the 24th of April, 1977, I lost two friends. One was s twenty-year-old Canadian comrade and the other was a Greek civilian. As I age there is not a single day that passes where I do not think about those two friends.

I retired from the Armed Force in 1995 after serving in an armoured regiment and as a Military Policeman. I am proud to have served my country. As long as I live and as long as God permits me I will attend the Remembrance Day parade in memory of my fallen comrade and other who have died in war.

I will remember.

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