Remembrance Day Message from Hon. John McKay M.P.
In 1915, following the second battle of Ypres, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae penned the iconic masterpiece In Flanders Fields. This poem has become an indispensable part of the Canadian act of remembrance, and on this Remembrance Day, I reflect on this poem and the importance of the message contained within it.
Though perhaps the scale, methods and battlefields of contemporary conflicts may differ greatly from the wars of the past, it is in the heart of the soldier and their unfailing commitment to Canada that has remained constant.
“We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.”
Soldiers, sailors and airmen in today’s Canadian Forces have seized the torch from the hands of the heroes of yesterday and proudly held it high through WWII, Korea, the Balkan Conflict, in numerous peacekeeping operations and most recently, in Afghanistan and Libya. As each conflict presents a new set of challenges and adversities, Canadian Forces members have risen to the challenge and triumphed in the face of adversity. We must never forget the incredible sacrifice these courageous men and women make on our behalf. It is from them that we draw our strength and pride as a nation always ready to rise to the task, no matter how difficult this task may be.
Canada’s Air force, Army and Navy stand ready to defend the values and freedoms we hold dear. For this, we owe them and their families our eternal gratitude and unconditional support. Today, and every day we remember those who have lost their lives in the defense of the country we proudly call home. To the members of the Canadian Forces: May God watch over you and keep you safe.
- Hon. John McKay, MP Scarborough-Guildwood, Liberal Party Defense Critic