PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio – Insurgents, unknown assailants and poachers killed nearly half of the 107 Rangers who died in the line of duty around the world the past 12 months. Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial will pay tribute to their sacrifice on World Ranger Day Tuesday, July 31.
During World Ranger Day, flags representing the 32 countries that lost Rangers in that last year will line the park grounds in front of the Visitor Center. Superintendent Fearon said the 90-minute documentary “The Thin Green Line” will be presented in the Visitor Center theater at 1 pm. The park’s free 15-minute film on the Battle of Lake Erie will be shown near the museum in the Visitor Center from 1 pm to 2:30 pm.
Rangers will give programs at 10:30 am, 12:45 pm and 3 pm on the jobs and dangers encountered by Rangers around the world and why it’s important that we recognize their work and acknowledge their sacrifice. There is no cost to attend a ranger program or view the film.
Australian Park Ranger Sean Willmore traveled to 23 countries in 12 months in 2004 and wrote the documentary “The Thin Green Line” in 2007 about the many Ranger deaths in the line of duty around the globe. He used the profits from the film to fund the Thin Green Line Foundation, the official charity of the International Ranger Federation.
More than 1,200 Ranger deaths have been recorded in the past 11 years and many more Rangers have been severely injured. The Thin Green Line Foundation looks after the families of those who have died and those have a suffered injuries in the line of duty.
Of the 107 recorded deaths in the past year, two were firefighters from California. 22-year veteran firefighter Gary Helming, 47, died in a traffic accident after leaving an assignment near Yellowstone. Brent M. Whitham, 29, died fighting a fire on assignment in Montana when he was struck by a falling tree.
“Rangers in India and Africa literally are at risk every day at work while protecting their country’s natural resources and wildlife,” said Park Superintendent Barbara Fearon. India lost 22 Rangers since July 31 of last year, and lost 38 Rangers in 2017. DR Congo lost 20 Rangers, 10 of which were killed by insurgents. Just 16 deaths were attributed to poachers this year, down from 34 in 2017. Another 11 Rangers were killed by elephants, two more by rhinos and one by a buffalo. Rangers also died from a snake bite, being struck by lightning, and homicide. Militants and terrorists killed 37 Rangers, 24 more suffered accidental deaths including traffic accidents, a rescue plane that crashed killing four, seven drownings, and four fighting fires. The majority of deaths happened predominately in developing nations and conflict zones.
“It’s important we honor these men and women for their service and their sacrifice, and it’s important to our park to participate in the observance of World Ranger Day,” said Superintendent Fearon. “We’re all in this together.”
About Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial. The park honors those who fought and died in the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812, and celebrates the enduring peace between the United States, Great Britain, and Canada. The Memorial, a Doric column, rising 352 feet over Lake Erie is 5 miles from the longest unarmed border in the world. It has an open-air Observation Deck 317 feet tall offering spectacular views of the Lake Erie Islands and Canada. For more information about Perry’s Victory visit www.nps.gov/pevi, the park’s Facebook page, Twitter @PerrysVIPM, and Instagram “at” perrysvictorynps. Visitors with special needs planning to attend a program or event at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial are requested to contact the park at 419-285-2184 to discuss their needs and available services.