Presentation and Consecration of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s New Colours
Toronto, Ontario, Friday, September 1, 2017
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I would like to take a moment to acknowledge that we are gathering on the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat, and that this is the home to many diverse Indigenous peoples
SIC ITUR AD ASTRA.
“Such is the pathway to the stars.”
That is the motto of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the one written on the new colours I’m honoured to present you with today.
It’s fitting because of the work the RCAF does every day to serve and protect our country and our ideals, all while continually striving for professional excellence.
You do this with unshakable pride.
Your distinguished service is reflected in the colours you will display. Though colours are no longer carried in action, as they had been historically, they continue to be visible symbols of pride, honour and devotion to Canada.
These qualities and this dedication are shared by all who wear this uniform, which I’m proud to wear today.
In this uniform, I stand a bit taller.
As I enter my last month of my mandate—and of being your commander-in-chief—I wanted to share with you some of what I have learned from you and about you.
First, you are rooted in history.
The history of our Air Force is one of pride, duty and honour. For more than 90 years, you have served us in many diverse ways. You serve in combat missions, but you also rescue people in danger and shore up community support during times of crises. You are peacekeepers. You protect our sovereignty. You are our eyes and ears in the sky. You are teachers and leaders and so much more, too many to list.
These colours reflect your history, invoking your original colours, which were granted in 1950, as well as honour all that you have done for us.
Second, I have learned that you are a high-intelligence organization capable of change and evolution. In other words, while your feet are rooted in history, you look forward to the future.
I’ve seen how innovative the Forces are. I’ve seen the depth of your education, the degree of training you have. The fact that you are professionals who are experts not just in military matters, but in matters of diplomacy, leadership, technology and so much more.
You are what you need to be, what the mission needs you to be. And for that, you command a great deal of respect.
Third, you are both disciplined and compassionate.
Being part of this military family for seven years has allowed me to see up close how you care for one another and how close knit you are.
You support and help each other and you inspire others with your actions.
Each of you has answered the call to service. Each of you has displayed values of duty and honour and courage.
The individuals who serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force are an important part of our history and our society. And I’m pleased to recognize all that you do with this presentation of colours.
Thank you, once again, for your service.