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  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Order of Military Merit Investiture Ceremony

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Rideau Hall, Thursday, December 9, 2010


Welcome to Rideau Hall. 

We are here to honour those of you who will receive the Order of Military Merit for your exemplary service and tireless devotion of duty.

I would like us to pause for a moment to reflect on the meaning of service and duty. How those words are defined. And what they involve when put into practice.

At the most basic level, service can be defined as being useful, or working to meet a general need. Duty can be defined as a moral, legal or patriotic obligation, something one is bound, or ought, to do.

As you and your family know only too well, service and duty are more than just words to define. Indeed, at their very heart, service and duty are ideals that must be employed.

It is that kind of service and duty—whereby men and women diligently give of themselves to achieve a greater, more noble purpose—that we are here to honour and celebrate today.

True service and devotion to duty call one to stand apart. They demand courage. They cause hardship. They involve perseverance. They require sacrifice. They come with a price. And they force us all to consider how we can truly love our neighbours better than ourselves. 

Georges P. Vanier was Canada’s 19th governor general. General Vanier had a long and distinguished career, in which he wholly devoted himself to public service as a veteran of both World Wars, a diplomat and a social worker.

His words during his installation address continue to inspire me as I undertake my responsibilities as governor general today.

He urged, “Each one of us, in his own way and place, however humble, must play his part towards the fulfillment of our national destiny…. If Canada is to attain the greatness worthy of it, each one of us must say, ‘I ask only to serve.’”

As governor general, I have pledged to do all that I can to inspire Canadians to a deeper, richer and more devoted level of public service. A level of public service where each of us strives to meet the needs of those less fortunate than ourselves. Where each of us fulfills our duty to uphold what is good and just and right. In other words, the kind of service you have modeled throughout your careers.

It is clear that each of you has risen to the spirit of his or her charge. You have given others around the world the chance to taste the rights and freedoms we in Canada so richly enjoy. You have demonstrated leadership, dedication and devotion beyond the call of duty to make and sustain peace. You have confirmed your unwavering commitment to our great country of Canada.

As commander-in-chief, it is my sincere honour and privilege to invest you into the Order of Military Merit. 

I know that you will wear the insignia with great pride. I know that you will not stop, now that your service has been recognized, assuming your work is complete and the battle won. I know that you will continue to do all that you can to execute your responsibilities to make our country—and our world—safer, more democratic and more free.

On behalf of all Canadians, I thank you. I commend you. And I will continue to serve alongside you, fulfilling my duty as you fulfill yours in the days to come.

May all Canadians follow your example of service and devotion to duty, so that our country may truly remain glorious and free.

Thank you.