84th Anniversary of Remembrance Dedicated to America’s Veterans of All Wars at Fort Logan National Cemetery
Denver, Colorado, Monday, May 30, 2016
Thank you for welcoming me. As commander-in-chief of Canada, I’m honoured to join you at Fort Logan National Cemetery on Memorial Day.
This is a place of solemn remembrance.
It’s a place we gather to pay tribute to those who served their country with distinction; those who stood up in defence of the ideals which we hold dear.
And it’s important that we honour their memories.
Because if we don’t, if we shirk our responsibilities to remember what these men and women have done for our nations, if we fail to tell their stories and remember their names, we will forget the important lessons of the past.
That’s why we gather here today. To remember and to reflect.
What lessons can we learn from the stories of the fallen?
For an answer, I want to talk about the combined service records of 8 860 Americans who fought with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. Some of these fine soldiers are buried here.
At the outset of the Second World War, before the U.S. entered the war, these Americans volunteered to join the Royal Canadian Air Force, fighting alongside our country’s soldiers.
They joined of their own volition because they felt it was the right thing to do, for Canada, for their country, and for the world. More than 800 were killed in action—six of whom were from Colorado.
They fought with America in their hearts and Canada standing next to them.
One lesson we can take away today is how well Canada and the U.S. work together. We continue to do so with great effectiveness. We do so around the world when it’s the right thing to do. We do so to learn from each other. We do so to protect our connected borders and air space.
And we’ve been doing it for a long time.
Wherever I see Canadian soldiers working with American ones, I’m impressed with how seamlessly integrated they are.
It’s not a Canadian team working on a U.S. base, but one team working toward a common goal.
Throughout history, Canada and the U.S. have fought in common cause side-by-side. As we speak, we’re working together in Canada, here in the U.S., and around the world for security and for the well-being of both our peoples.
The duty, professionalism and honour of our joint forces are just as inspiring as their forbearers were.
Past and present, all those who stood up to defend our common values.
Look around us.
Each marker is a reminder that death is never anonymous. Each person here has a name and a past. Each one had hopes and fears, love and loss. They came from across the U.S. and fought around the world, alongside allies such as Canada.
I’m grateful to all those who answer the call to service. They’re our constant shield against those who wish us harm, the enduring proof of the courage and goodness of human nature.
Those who’ve found their final resting place here sacrificed so much for us, so that we may live in friendship and in peace.
In their memory, let’s all do our part so that we don’t squander that opportunity.
I wish all of you a meaningful Memorial Day, and I thank you for all that you do for Canada and for the United States.