Remembrance Day statements from Minister and CDS

The Minister of National Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff today issued statements on the occasion of Remembrance Day 2015.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan issued the following statement:

“Remembrance Day is a solemn day of reflection – a time for Canadians to stand united in a moment of silence and pay tribute to the generations of brave men and women who have fought and died in the name of freedom and peace, and to the countless others who have been left with the life-long scars of war.

“Ninety-seven years ago, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the hostilities of the First World War formally came to an end.  Over 60,000 Canadians lost their lives during that war, and too many others were wounded. Sadly, the First World War would be far from the last time that Canadian and allied soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen would be called to give the ultimate sacrifice in the service of peace. The Books of Remembrance, humbly displayed in the Peace Tower, are a moving testament to the legacy of courage and sacrifice that has become an enduring thread throughout Canadian military history.

“This year, in particular, we commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and we mark the Centennial of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment’s participation in the First World War, and the Centennial of the Irish Regiment of Canada. This year, we also mark the one-year anniversary of the tragic events of October 2014.

“Indeed, while November 11th is a time for historic reflection, we must also remember that today’s acts of remembrance resonate very close to home for those military members and their families for whom the burden of war and violence is a very current reality.

“On this day, let us show our sincere gratitude to Canadian veterans, whose dedication to service helped build the Canada that we cherish today. To the brave members of the Canadian Armed Forces currently serving at home and abroad, we proudly salute your unwavering commitment to protecting Canadians, and to bringing peace and security to the world.

“On this day, let us remember those who have sacrificed for us, and let us give thanks.

“Lest we forget.”

General Jonathan Vance, the Chief of the Defence Staff and Chief Warrant Officer Kevin West, the Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer,  issued the following statement:

“For all of us in the Canadian Armed Forces, November 11 is always a special day in our hearts and minds. It gives us time to reflect and remember those before us who defended Canada and made the ultimate sacrifice. We not only remember those who died in the decades before us, but those who died in recent years and who were our own brothers and sisters in arms. Had these Canadians not made the supreme sacrifice, they could very well be still serving and excelling in their military careers.

“With that thought in mind, it is important to recall that we indeed have a young generation of veterans. Alongside our veterans from World War II, the Korean War and other earlier conflicts, our veterans from recent operations such as the Balkans, Afghanistan and Libya will be present at cenotaphs and memorial sites across the country to remember on November 11. Even today, members of the Canadian Armed Forces willingly put themselves in harm’s way, specifically on our current deployments that continue around the globe. We ask that you think of them and their families who await their safe return home.

“Acknowledging the recent change of government leadership, this peaceful transition is especially important as it is a true example of the values and freedoms we defend and for which many have died.  This kind of change also brings new tasks and challenges, which we as members of the Canadian Armed Forces welcome and embrace. It is who we are and what we do. Finally, we remain impressed by the number of Canadians who come out every year on Remembrance Day to pay their respects at 11 a.m. For those in uniform, don it with pride at your respective events. For all Canadians, we thank you for taking the time to remember. If you have never done so, we encourage you to make 2015 your first year to take part in a local Remembrance Day ceremony. We are certain that you will feel proud to be a Canadian.

“Lest we forget.”