Friday, November 11, 2005


Dear Veterans:

This Rememberance Day, I wanted to send a personal note to all of you. As each year passes and less and less of you are with us, it becomes even more important for each and every Canadian to thank you for your sacrifices.

I am proud to play my part in honouring the fallen by taking a few minutes to attend memorial services. When I lived in our nation's capital, my father and I made a point of attending the ceremony at the Cenotaph regardless of how busy our personal schedules were. Both he and I (and indeed my whole family) felt it was the least we could do to show our respect and gratitude to you.

I delight in watching each of you march past the crowds, your weary bodies still straight and proud, with a look on your face that always seems both thankful and humbled by the waves of applause those gathered shower upon you. Your eyes betray the kind peacefulness that is the hallmark of the generation that fought so hard for everything they have: in them I see someone who has witnessed unspeakable horror and destruction but knew what he had to do and did it; who asked for no reward for his deeds, only hoping to make it back home to live in peace.

I thank you for those sacrifices you made. Those sacrifices that allow me to live as I choose, to use a medium such as this to voice my opposition to the government of the day, without fear of a brutal reprisal. The freedom I have today was paid for by you and your brothers in arms.

I want you to know that I--a member of the generation who has never truly known war--knows that.

So, I do what I can to not squander what I have been given. I am an active participant in our democracy and its institutions. I cherish and work to protect free speech. I honour the rule of law in our country and I respect those who disagree with me. I am mindful of who came before me and what they went through to get here.

I want you to know that I will do my part to make sure the next generation will remember. I will teach my daughter about the nobility of our veterans, both alive and passed on, and the important of taking time to honour them--especially, but not solely, on this day. I hope her generation will make you proud.

I want you to know there are still people in this country who live honourable lives. Who work hard to do the right thing, not the right-for-me thing. There are people who understand the power of committment--who live by their word and expect those around them to do the same. There are people who value charity and selflessness and work to make the country better.

There are also people who hold the same values as you. Who recognize this was once a proud and strong country and who know it can be again. They stand up for what they believe in and will do what is necessary if ever called upon to protect those beliefs from threat.

Know that you can pass the torch to the next generation, as the one before you did, and that they will carry it as proudly as you have.

I will remember. I will always honour and protect what you fought and died for.

I will never forget.

My family and I thank you.

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