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

Annual Inspection of the Ceremonial Guard

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Annual Inspection of the Ceremonial Guard

Ottawa, Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We are gathered here on Parliament Hill to mark the Ceremonial Guard’s return to the National Capital.

But first may I ask for a minute of silence in memory of Sergeant James Patrick MacNeil of 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment based in Petawawa who gave his life yesterday in Afghanistan. He was a dedicated participant in this most complex and perilous mission. I know that Canadians are as one in their desire to comfort and support his family, friends and brothers and sisters in arms. We will remember this brave Canadian forever.

It is always a pleasure for visitors and tourists to see you, and I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome the members of the public who are with us here this morning.

Since I began my term as Governor General of Canada, I have carried out 36 missions abroad.

In most of the countries that welcomed me, I inspected their honour guards.

And I can tell you that we Canadians can be every bit as proud of our Ceremonial Guard as any other countries in the world are of theirs.

You never cease to move me and impress me by your rigour, your precision and your impeccable appearance.

As commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces, I want you to know that you do me great honour.

Your red wool coats and bearskin hats are alone enough to inspire respect.

Not only because they symbolize a rich military tradition, but because we can only imagine what it must be like to wear them in the dead of summer!

That uniform is hot. And not only is the hat heavy, but it’s really tight around your head.

I challenge any of us to wear your uniform, hours on end with the sun beating down, and not squirm.

While your duties are ceremonial in nature, the fact remains that you are duly trained soldiers in the Canadian Forces.

You are drawn from two main regiments, the Governor General’s Foot Guards and the Canadian Grenadiers Guards, as well as other regiments from across Canada.

Most of you are in the Reserve, but some are in the Regular Forces.

And for the first time in its history, the Ceremonial Guard includes members of the Navy and Air Force.

In fact, a number of you have been or will be deployed as part of missions here at home or overseas.

You stand at the ready, prepared to serve under any circumstance. And that is the bond that unites you.

You are young, but you embody a very old tradition, that of the citizen-soldier carrying out his or her civic duty and on whom Canada has always been able to rely to ensure its defence and contribute to international forces, both in times of peace and in times of war.

Thank you for all that you do in the Canadian Forces, and for staying connected to the community, which can be demanding and involve all manner of sacrifice.

With that in mind, I would like to pay tribute as well to your families for sharing in your commitment.

You have my best wishes for success, and I hope you all have a wonderful summer.