Visit to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Friday, February 5, 2016
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It’s a pleasure to be here at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre to see the care and compassion that’s on full display.
And I’m honoured to be in the presence of so many veterans who fought and sacrificed for our nation.
Not long after first becoming governor general, I had the chance to host veterans at Rideau Hall in Ottawa for the annual presentation of the first poppy, during the remembrance season. I was still new at the job, barely three weeks in, and it was my first chance to really interact with veterans as commander-in-chief.
And one week after that, I was in Afghanistan learning more about the unique challenges faced by our serving military personnel.
Since then, I’ve met with so many Canadian veterans. And I’ve had many more opportunities to deepen my appreciation of how you served and why you served.
I’m so impressed with your sense of duty and the honour with which you conduct yourselves. Even today, you still give of your time to teach young people about the contributions of veterans, to make sure that we never forget.
And trust me, the world has not forgotten your contributions.
I’ve travelled around the world. I’ve been to France and Poland and Belgium. I’ve visited Korea. I’ve seen the grounds upon which you marched. I saw peaceful lands that were once not so peaceful.
I saw the respect and admiration those countries still have for our troops. For you.
In the Netherlands, for example, Dutch volunteers are preserving the history of Canada’s role in the liberation of the Netherlands in communities like Holten, Groesbeek and Bergen op Zoom.
It means a great deal to me that I’m able to share this with you, to say that what you did in the Second World War, in the Korean War, is still remembered by so many.
Being here, with all of you, helps to open my eyes to what you experienced then and what you are going through now.
I know you’re fighting new battles here in this facility and that you face every challenge with the same poise and resolve you did all those years ago when you were members of the Canadian Armed Forces. And having met some of the staff, I know that you are in the hands of compassionate, caring people who want the best for you and your families.
I thank them for what they do. And I thank you, our veterans, for answering the call to service, for sharing our history and for inspiring us with your courage, bravery and sense of duty.