PRIME Minister Stephen Harper on Tuesday issued the following statement to mark Remembrance Day:
“Today we remember the courage and dedication of the Canadian men and women who have fought valiantly over the years to defend our freedom and rights, making it possible for us to live in a peaceful, democratic country where we enjoy one of the best qualities of life in the world.
“For the past two centuries, hundreds of thousands of Canadians have earned enormous respect – at home and abroad – by answering the call to fight against tyranny and evil around the world in engagements such as the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, Afghanistan and many other international military operations. Those who fought so valiantly in these battlefields are still honoured and remembered in places such as Vimy Ridge, Ypres, Normandy, Sicily, Hill 355 in Korea, and Kandahar to name a few. Many made the ultimate sacrifice.
“It is our duty to remember the Canadians who so selflessly defended our freedom. That is why the commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the Second World War are two of the major milestones on the Road to 2017. As we recall our proud history, let us also remember how early Canadians, First Nations and Métis people fought together like never before in the War of 1812 to repel an American invasion, laying the foundation for an independent Canada.
“Remembrance Day also provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the daunting sacrifices made by Canadian families who were forced to endure their loved ones being away at war and dangerous missions abroad. Let us recall the unfailing support they provided to those on the front lines, the thousands of letters and care packages, and the dedication of those who worked in support of the effort back at home.
“On this solemn occasion, let us celebrate the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces carrying on today in the proud tradition of their forebears, defending freedom in places such as Iraq, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean Sea.
“Members of the Canadian Armed Forces have the honour to wear a uniform that is recognized across the world as a symbol of courage and democracy. The recent deadly attacks on Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, who were targeted simply because they proudly wore this uniform, only strengthens Canada’s resolve to keep fighting against those who would deny our liberties and freedoms, and who have a complete disregard for human lives.
“We can never repay the debt we owe to the intrepid men and women who paid for our freedom with their lives, but we can remember their enormous sacrifices and pay tribute to their bravery and patriotism.
“Lest we forget.”