Presentation of Meritorious Service Decorations
Rideau Hall, Friday, March 22, 2013
It is a pleasure to welcome you to Rideau Hall, home of the people of Canada, for this presentation of Meritorious Service Decorations.
To see men and women in uniform gather for such an occasion is not only heartening, but also inspirational. You are here because you are the epitome of service to country. You serve because you know that it is right. And it is that knowledge that drives you to give of yourselves to build a fairer, more just world.
Each of you here with us today has achieved goals beyond expectations. Whether on land, air or sea, in Afghanistan, Libya or elsewhere in the world, Canadians and our allies are making a difference. And you are making that difference not through passivity, but through action, setting an example for all to follow.
We can talk about the importance of recognizing members of our military, but as you participate in missions, as events unfold, medals are not what you think of.
During your tours of duty, objectives were clear: complete the mission, protect your comrades, come home safe. Regrettably, not all of these objectives could be met for every one of you. You experienced loss, whether it was of a physical or emotional nature.
Yet, this loss did not break your resolve, nor did it dull your belief that what you were doing was effective and, most importantly, was for the good of others. And it was that belief that guided your actions and led you to success.
Each of you has displayed not just great competency in your job, but also great leadership in the field.
As commander-in-chief, I have met and honoured many in the Canadian Forces, as well as soldiers from other countries. I have found during my mandate that leadership and determination are universal qualities when it comes to men and women in uniform.
I have always said that one important aspect of leadership is to surround yourself with the right people. In the Forces and in our allies, we are blessed with an abundance of the “right people” for the job, as evidenced by all of you here.
The excellence that I have seen is performed at all ranks, in a variety of tasks, and all done with a profound sense of duty. This display of merit is not a moment of inspiration, but a sustained commitment to service, to your colleagues and to Canada.
You are the present and the future of our Canadian Forces. It is a privilege to be your commander-in-chief, to share with others your accomplishments, and to be here today to bestow this honour upon you.
Never doubt that you make your families, friends, all of us very proud in all that you do.
Thank you for your service to Canada, and congratulations to all of you on this occasion.