Remembrance Day Message in Esprit De Corps Magazine

November-02-11

Esprit De Corps: Canadian Military, Volume 18 Issue 10, November 2011. Pages 27 & 58. 

Since the founding of our nation, more than 100,000 Canadians have given their lives so that we may live in a free and just society. They have selflessly gone to distant lands for war or peacekeeping and have always done so in the interest of humanity. Our Canadian forces have always been ready to answer the call when they are needed.

No honour is too great for those who fell in battle, and no more meaningful honour can we render than to demonstrate our thanks to our veterans and current members of the Canadian Forces for their service and dedication to our country.

This Remembrance Day, I urge all of us to give special recognition those who have returned from overseas with mental injuries as well as physical, lasting scars that are a testament their sacrifices.

Across the globe in times of conflict and strife, Canadian soldiers have been there – always professional, always courageous. At Vimy Ridge, the Canadian Expeditionary Force set the standard, defeating the enemy on even the most daunting of battlefields. This was the first time all four divisions of the Expeditionary Force had the opportunity to fight together and it marks our nation’s psychological evolution from colony to country. But Canada paid a high price – the injury and death of thousands of Canadians in a foreign land. The National Vimy Memorial now stands tall in France, a monument to their sacrifice and to our country.

Canadian soldiers have been central to many more important battles— in Juno Beach, in Korea, and in providing our support to our allies in the first Gulf War. Today, our Canadian Forces have been in Afghanistan for nearly a decade. During the combat mission, we were constantly reminded of the dangers they face every day as so many fallen soldiers returned to grieving loved ones in Canada. They have left an indelible mark on the hearts of Afghanis, helping improve life and security in Afghanistan and ensure that the world is safe from the threat of terror.

The Canadian Forces fostered an international legacy as peacekeepers on missions around the world. Canadian soldiers have donned blue helmets and put themselves in the line of fire between warring factions on numerous occasions, helping to defuse violence and restore order. They have done so at great personal risk. Many have been killed on these missions, many more returned with injuries visible only to themselves and their families. 

In Libya now, the Canadian Forces have helped provide the basis for a better future by engaging Qaddafi’s forces and preventing him from killing and injuring his own people. Their work led to a transition of power and removed a tyrant who was bent on slaughtering many of his own citizens.

Canadians are immensely proud of our military and its great tradition. Our forces have defeated tyrants, delivered food to the hungry and kept the peace. We know the sacrifices that our young men and women have made and are aware of the fundamental importance of its history in forging Canada.

On Remembrance Day, Canadians will line the streets, fill the legions and gather at ceremonies to remember those who have given their lives in the service of their country. The greatest way we can honour them is through action. We offer our solemn remembrance and deepest grief to our fallen men and women. To our veterans, nothing but the highest recognition and commitment to ensure that they have the resources, help, and respect they deserve.