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Regiment celebrates anniversary in combat zone

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Members of the Royal Canadian Regiment raised their glasses Thursday and marked their 123rd anniversary with a ceremonial toast against the backdrop of war.

"To my dear friends, to all present and to all those who departed and in honour of 123 years' service for the country -- to the regiment: Pro Patria (For Country)," said Col. Jim Vance, commander of 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, the senior officer at the ceremony.

"Pro Patria," intoned the assembled troops as they raised glasses containing a mixture of dark rum, water and brown sugar.

The drink is a symbol of the Ortona Crossroads, a lengthy 1943 battle near Ortona, Italy, where the RCR was involved in a costly fight against the Germans. After the crossroads were finally secured, the regiment's birthday was toasted with what was available at the time -- dark rum, water and brown sugar.

With Canadian troops now engaged in NATO's Operation Baaz Tsuka in Afghanistan, the parallels were obvious for the regiment, which is part of the combat team in the town of Howz-e Madad.

"We're in grapefields instead of vineyards and fighting from compound to compound in built-up areas, Ortona being one of the bloodiest battles the Canadian army experienced to that day," said Lt.-Col. Omer Lavoie, commander of the Canadian Battle Group, in his address to the troops.

"So 63 years later, a hell of a lot of similarities between what we did in Ortona and what we're doing here in Afghanistan."

This is my old regiment

Edited by Laurence Strong
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  • Blog Comments

    • Sounds great other than the Orange & Mango squash only because I prefer cran-pomegranate juice.
    • "(...) disgusting herbal concoction (...)" I took note of this description, to enrich my otherwise limited, English "Wortschatz"...
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    • When I read Lapsang Souchong i decided to post something about these Tea . Many years ago I dont  know about Lapsang until I read James Michener book Centennial and the description of the savour of the Lapasang as a mix of tar and salt & smoked made me proof . It was exact ! and i liked it since then .
    • I have been known to drink Lapsang Souchong and Tea, Earl Grey, Hot... both "without pollutants". I normally have one mug of coffee in the morning, then spend the rest of the day drinking Orange & Mango squash (by the pint). Then evening comes and it's a pint, followed by red wine with dinner and sometimes a drop of Laphroaig afterwards.
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