Order of Military Merit Investiture Ceremony
Rideau Hall, Friday, June 8, 2012
I am pleased to welcome you to Rideau Hall for this very special event.
As governor general and commander-in-chief of Canada, I am honoured to have the opportunity to recognize outstanding military service. Today’s ceremony is particularly special, as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Order of Military Merit in 1972.
At that time, Canada’s governor general was the Right Honourable Roland Michener, whose personal motto was: “Freedom with Order.”
Paired with the actual motto of the Order of Military Merit— Officium Ante Commodum, or “Service before Self”—these words accurately reflect your guiding principles as servicemen and women.
Like my predecessor Roland Michener, each of you understands that order and the rule of law are fundamental to our democratic freedoms, and you also know that serving these ideals often calls for personal sacrifice.
You know this from your own experiences, serving in a variety of challenging situations here in Canada and around the world. Each of you has served in so many ways, and you have demonstrated the readiness to defend our democratic principles, which General Georges Vanier, himself a former governor general, called “the overpowering strength of a free people.”
As commander-in-chief, I have on many occasions spoken with Canadian Forces members and their families, and learned more about their lives and careers. I know from these conversations that life in the military is not always easy.
I am struck, however, by the strong sense of duty that exists within our military. It is a sense that each of you possesses to a particularly high degree.
As members, officers and commanders of the Order of Military Merit, you belong to a society within the Canadian Forces that represents our very best. I often speak of our military as a unique family, and, as in any family, role models are vitally important.
The close camaraderie that exists within the ranks is one reason why your individual conduct is so important, and why the Order is such a crucial symbol of excellence.
The Order of Military Merit honours you, the individual soldiers and officers who set the standard for Canadian military professionalism. Never underestimate the power of your actions or your example.
Over the past four decades, many of Canada’s finest servicemen and women have been invested into the Order of Military Merit. And as it did for them, this honour speaks to the confidence your commanding officers and your country have in you.
We are truly fortunate to have you in uniform.
On this 40th anniversary of the Order of Military Merit, I thank you for your service and dedication to Canada, and offer my congratulations on your achievements.