Order of Military Merit Investiture Ceremony
Rideau Hall, Tuesday, March 5, 2013
I am delighted to welcome you to Rideau Hall today for this very special ceremony.
As chancellor of the Order of Military Merit, I am honoured to recognize your outstanding service to our country. That applies to those of you who are being named Commanders, Officers and Members of the Order, and also to your loved ones, who offer such valuable support and encouragement.
Let me take a moment to say how proud I am to serve as your commander-in-chief. The Canadian Forces is a very special organization, and I was once again reminded of this during my recent visit to the Republic of Korea.
In addition to attending the inauguration of that country’s new president, my trip included a visit to the War Memorial of Korea, where I laid a wreath in honour of the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War. It was a solemn privilege to perform this small act of remembrance, and to recall the sacrifices of the 516 Canadians who were killed in that conflict, and the more than 25 000 who served.
Let me assure you, the people of the Republic of Korea have not forgotten the sacrifices of Canadian and other United Nations veterans, who successfully came together to halt an act of international aggression. It was a first for the UN, and this is now part of your heritage as members of the Canadian Forces.
Today, you have inherited both the honour of the past and the responsibilities of service in the present-day, and that is why your leadership means so much. Your willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty is perhaps the greatest tribute you can pay to those who went before you.
And, of course, your outstanding work is essential in helping the Canadian Forces be a force for good in the world today.
That is your mission, after all: to contribute to a more peaceful, secure and just world, and to defend the democratic values of Canada.
Without a doubt, we live in rapidly changing, uncertain times, and it is not always clear what the future holds. But your dedication remains a constant, and we are truly fortunate to be able to count on you.
Congratulations on your remarkable achievements, and thank you once again for your service to Canada.