Inspection of the Ceremonial Guard
Rideau Hall, Monday, June 25, 2012
What a fantastic display! The pageantry and precision of the Ceremonial Guard never fails to impress me. This year is no exception.
As commander-in-chief, I commend you for the hard work you have put into this day, and I am delighted to witness your devotion to duty and the respect you have for tradition. After all, that is why, year after year, the Ceremonial Guard has existed in Ottawa: tradition.
The music, the marching, your formation—all of this speaks to a Canada of yesterday. When we see you in your uniforms, when we see your rifles, your iconic hats, when we hear the familiar refrains coming from the bagpipes, we are transported back and transfixed by the image of our military past.
This year in particular there are so many different ways that we are celebrating our history. The 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 gives us a wonderful opportunity to look at a pre-Confederation Canada, a time in which, although we were not yet united under one country, we came together, a cross-section of early Canadians—British, French, Aboriginal warriors, local volunteer militias, freed slaves and so many others—to defend our land.
The Ceremonial Guard is a legacy, of sorts, from that war, in that you have joined together from a number of different regiments, from the Regular and Reserve forces, from the army, air force and navy. Here in Ottawa you have gathered to carry out the summer public duties that have attracted so many to visit.
I know that those who come to Rideau Hall always pause to see the Relief of the Sentries. Children march alongside the small procession, held every hour on the hour, trying to keep pace and rhythm with the soldiers. And Canadians of all ages stop to take photos, marveling at the poise it takes to maintain your posts out in the elements.
The matter of poise brings me to the second major celebration during 2012: the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen. For the past 60 years, The Queen has been a model, not only of poise, but also of the type of service to which we all aspire. I have always been cognizant of the fact that wherever I go in Canada and overseas, I am representing not only this country, but also the Canadian Crown.
We are inspired by her dedication to service, and we are also stirred by the service to others I have seen from members of our Canadian Forces.
On so many occasions, I have witnessed what you do for our country. And on so many occasions, I have been privileged to publicly honour what you do for our country.
Today we have reason to celebrate the past, yet we also have many reasons to celebrate the future.
The summer months are just beginning—with Canada Day right around the corner—a time for our attention to turn to family and to building stronger communities.
All of you represent the past and the future, but most of all, you represent a coming together of Canadians. And when we work together, we can create a smarter, more caring nation, one where everyone has the chance to realize their dreams.
Thank you for your service. I wish all of you a wonderful summer.