The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Launch of the Poppy Campaign

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Launch of the Poppy Campaign

Rideau Hall, Tuesday, October 13, 2009 

Not a day goes by without the news reminding us of how lucky we are to live in freedom, while so many people around the world are affected by barbarism and misery.

Defending this freedom against that which may restrict it demands a great many sacrifices.

I know.

Whenever one of our soldiers falls in Afghanistan, I stand beside the grieving families, and it is also important to me that I visit with our young injured soldiers, whose lives will never be the same again. 

I must confess that my heart is heavy as I launch the poppy campaign for the last time as governor general of Canada and commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces.

Heavy with the weight of the losses that the Forces and the entire country have suffered; with the grief of the fathers and mothers, partners and children, brothers and sisters who have lost a loved one in Afghanistan; heavy with the trauma of the wounded.

And I cannot help but think of you, the veterans who have participated in history’s most deadly conflicts.

Of you who have experienced the front, the trenches; the fear of never seeing your loved ones again; the death of your comrades in arms, by the thousands, all in the prime of their life; the devastation right before your eyes.

In a way, it is as though the sacrifices and suffering of today’s military men and women and their families have become the echo of the sacrifices and suffering that you, the veterans, experienced during the major wars of the last century.

As though it were a single cry, a single wish, a single hope: that humanity be freed once and for all from the yoke of violence and oppression.

Wearing the poppy on our lapel is not an empty gesture.

It is a promise.

A promise to never forget, despite the passage of time.

A promise, in short, to make a firm commitment to building peace right here, right now, every day.

Thank you.