Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan: Remembering the Canadians who were killed or injured for our peace and freedom

Video / November 11, 2016


On Remembrance Day, Canadians stand united in a moment of silence. We remember generations of brave Canadian women and men who put themselves in harm’s way for peace and freedom. They are soldiers, sailors, airwomen and airmen who represent different parts of our country. From the dense forests of Vancouver Island, to the rocky coastlines of Newfoundland and Labrador, to the Arctic tundra in the North. They come with their own beliefs and their own customs, representing the richness of the Canadian mosaic.

This year, we commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Battles of the Somme and Beaumont-Hamel. Canadians and Newfoundlanders who fought in these battles showed incredible bravery. Of the more than 800 men in the Newfoundland Regiment who took part in this battle. Only 68 were able to answer the roll call the next morning.

We also mark the 100th anniversary of the No. 2 Construction Battalion – the first and only predominately black battalion in Canadian military history. Over the course of our country’s history, Canadians of African and Caribbean heritage have proudly served with dedication and courage.

Next year, we will mark several anniversaries, including the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge… A brutal battle fought in the mud-filled trenches and fields of the First World War. At Vimy, regiments from coast to coast to coast saw action together in a distinctly Canadian effort. And it helped create a new and stronger sense of Canadian pride in our country.

The courage and commitment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel continues today. Think of the women and men who served during the 12-year battle to bring hope and peace to the people of Afghanistan. And think of those serving today in the global coalition’s fight against Daesh, or others supporting peace and stability in operations around the world.

And as our Government is about to ask up to 600 Canadian Armed Forces members to deploy in aid of UN peace support operations, I am again humbled by the sacrifices our women and men in uniform, and their families are willing to make.

Our military women and men have stood on guard for us time and again, keeping Canada strong, proud, and free. This Remembrance Day, we remember them. We keep alive our nation’s rich history, and ensure the torch of remembrance for our military personnel never goes out. 

Remembrance is a pledge and a promise that we must continue to honour. Not just out of respect for their service. But for ourselves as well. For our children. And for generations to come.

Lest we forget….

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