Minister Kenney’s Address at the Remembrance Day Commemoration Ceremony – Calgary Military Museum 11/11/11November 12, 2011
Today we gather to discharge a sacred duty: to remember.
To remember the greatest Canadians. To remember those who laid down their lives in the defence of Canada, of freedom, of human dignity. Who died so that others might live in peace.
The great Jewish chronicler of Hitler’s Holocaust, Elie Wiesel, wrote that: “Forgetting is never an option. Remembering is a noble and necessary act. The call of memory, the call to memory, reaches us from the very dawn of history. No commandment figures so frequently, so insistently, in the Bible. It is incumbent upon us to remember the good we have received, and the evil we have suffered.”
And so today we remember the good done, and the evil suffered, by the courageous men and women who have worn our country’s uniform.
Nous nous souvenons des voltigeurs de Charles de Salaberry, qui avec 1300 canadiens ont repoussé une force d’invasion américaine de 4,000 au cours de la guerre de 1812.
We remember the Canadian volunteers and militia under Sir Isaac Brock and his successors, who protected Canada from American invasion in the War of 1812, the bicentennial of which we commemorate next year.
We remember those who defended Canada during the Fenian Raids, including one of my own ancestors.
We remember those who died in bringing order to the North-West Territories in 1885.
We remember those buried in distant African fields, who between 1899 and 1901 answered the call of a great Empire of which Canada was a proud daughter.
We remember the more than 60,000 Canadians who left their farms, their families, and their homes, to die in the mud of the Somme, Vimy, and Passchendaele, the “shock troops” of the allied forces who accelerated the end of the Great War.
We remember the more than 40,000 Canadians who perished in saving mankind from fascist terror in the Second World War.
We remember the hundreds of Canadians buried in the Korean Peninsula, who defended a democracy from Communist aggression, so that millions could live today in dignity rather than slavery.
We remember those who gave their lives to keep the peace in missions around the world.
And, of course, we remember the 158 Canadians who over the past decade laid down their lives to keep us safe from those who conceived of, planned, and executed the murder of 3,000 innocent civilians, including 24 Canadians, on September 11, 2001.
Today we most poignantly remember Master Corporal Byron Greff of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, killed by extremists in Kabul two weeks ago.
We remember the tens of thousands who today wear Canada’s uniform in our proud Army regiments, in the Royal Canadian Navy, and in the Royal Canadian Air Force, especially those overseas.
We pray for their protection. We thank them for their service.
Just as we thank the veterans who stand before as a living example of selfless courage, dignity, and love of country.
“And some there be, which have no memorial; who are perished, as though they had never been; and are become as though they had never been born; and their children after them. [but of these and others], … their glory shall not be blotted out. Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore.”
May God bless the souls and the sacred memory of our gallant fallen, whose names liveth for evermore.
God bless Canada, and God save the Queen.