Presentation of Meritorious Service Decorations
Rideau Hall, Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Welcome, all of you, to Rideau Hall. It is an honour, as commander-in-chief, to present you with much-deserved Meritorious Service Decorations.
You live by a straightforward but demanding set of rules and ethics. Duty to country. Loyalty to your comrades. Integrity in all that you do. Courage in the face of great odds.
You have demonstrated all these qualities. As such, you are not only honoured with this decoration, but you also bring great honour to the Canadian Armed Forces, to your unit, to your family, and to Canada.
Throughout your careers you have gone the extra distance to accomplish the mission; to protect your comrades; to create a strong, sustainable Canadian Armed Forces.
You have done so with distinction and with pride, across borders and alongside our allies—some of whom we also honour today. You do all this because you believe in what you do, you believe in the rightness of it.
In a few moments, we will hear your citations read, the reasons behind each of your decorations. But one short paragraph does not do justice to why you are being honoured here today. You have shown meritorious distinction not just in the specified period, but also during your entire career.
Time and again, you have shown Canadians that hard work, training and commitment can overcome so many obstacles. You have made this country, and this world, safer and more secure.
Whenever I have met with members of the Forces, here at home or overseas, I am particularly struck by the importance they place on service. You do so with little thought to your own safety, but plenty of thought for the safety of others. You are peacekeepers. You rebuild that which has been destroyed and preserve what is most precious to us. You defend our values and ideals. You leave behind family for months at a time because you know you are needed.
All of you here are leaders. You command respect and act as inspirations to others. I urge you to take an active role in building the Canadian Armed Forces that generations can be proud of. In this way, you will continue to serve this country and your comrades.
You make me proud, each and every one of you. I have seen what you can do, and I know any challenge you face can be overcome through duty, loyalty, integrity and courage.
Congratulations on this occasion, and thank you for serving Canada.