Launch of the National Poppy Campaign
Rideau Hall, Thursday, October 10, 2013
It is with great pride that I accept the first poppy of the 2013 campaign.
For the past three years, Sharon and I have welcomed people to Rideau Hall, home of the people of Canada. In that time, we have hosted many veterans of wars and conflicts that span the past century.
In my capacity as commander-in-chief, I have recognized veterans’ contributions to this country in many ways, and I take my duty quite seriously.
Just this past summer, I visited the Netherlands, where I had the opportunity to pay tribute to the Canadian troops who helped liberate that country during the Second World War. And a few months later, I took part in the ceremony marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice.
It is as commander-in-chief that I honour veterans, but it is as a Canadian that I take great pride in doing so. I am delighted and honoured to have the chance to express my admiration for all that you have done.
Because of you, freedom is entrenched in our society and in societies across oceans. Because of you, families can rest easier knowing that there are men and women who defend the very ideals they hold dear.
That is why it is vital to wear this poppy each and every year. That is why we remember.
As far back as the First World War, and even before that, Canadians fought and died for our beliefs. They sacrificed so much so that our nation could thrive, so that we could all enjoy the freedom to live our lives in our own way.
The poppy that we wear each year is a powerful and universal symbol of our promise to our men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces. Never shall we forget what you have done and never shall we shirk our responsibility to do so.
A publication distributed by the Royal Canadian Artillery in 1943 during the Second World War ended with the following: “Be proud of your regiment. Be proud of Canada. Canada is proud of you.”
It bears repeating: Canada is proud of you, for what you have done, for sharing your stories, and for continuing to honour the fallen each year through the National Poppy Campaign.