I am looking forward to seeing everyone at Remembrance Day ceremonies throughout Veterans’ Week this year in our riding.
I will be speaking on Nov. 11 at the Strathmore Ceremony and hopefully visiting a number of local Legion branches throughout Remembrance Day. The Government of Canada Remembrance Day wreath will be laid at twenty one locations in our riding.
As the chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, I was asked last year by the Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Greg Thompson to accompany the official Government of Canada delegation travelling in France and Belgium to mark the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War. I represented Canada at numerous events between November 9 and 14, including laying a wreath at the Canadian National Vimy Memorial on November 12 and delivering the Keynote Address at that ceremony.
With a heavy heart I stood on Juno Beach – where during World War II on June 6th, 1944, 574 men of the 3rd Canadian Division were wounded and 340 were killed. I encourage readers to visit www.junobeach.org and read the heart-wrenching and detailed story of these Canadians and our Allies fighting for the freedoms we enjoy and the life we lead today. They were literally fighting for their own – and our – future. As the website says, “One million Canadians in uniform, making a decisive contribution to the Allied Victory…” Our small nation paid heavily.
Millions of Canadians will participate in the various Veterans’ Week events because they proudly understand the great debt we owe our veterans and their families: a debt that our modern, prosperous, democratic and free nation can never repay. During Veterans’ Week, Canadians come together to honour this group of men and women who unite our country as few things can: Our veterans – the generations of brave Canadians who have always been there to serve our great country in both times of war and in times of peace.
In 2009, our country continues to ‘lift above our weight’ providing military, reconstruction, and development assistance in the world. As I write this news column 133 Canadian lives have been lost in the Afghanistan mission. Ours is a noble and compassionate mission as Afghanistan is the poorest and most violent and war-torn nation on Earth. Canada continues to work with our Allies in the international community to help innocent people as much as we can.
During Veterans’ Week, we remember our nation’s truest heroes—past and present. Lest we forget.
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