RCMP National Memorial Ceremony
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Regina, Sunday, September 11, 2011
Sharon and I are humbled to be here, on our first official visit to Saskatchewan, to honour the bravery and dedication of those members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who, for more than a century, have sacrificed their lives in defence of the people of this country. We owe them all our gratitude.
Each time we lose an officer in the line of duty—whether at home or abroad, while preventing a crime or as the result of a tragic accident—it is a blow to our nation. We wonder how it might have been prevented and reflect on how unfair it is to their family. We think of our debt to the fallen and of how proud we are of every member of the RCMP.
We remember them individually, but also collectively, because no matter their difference in background, age, province or even the era in which they lived, one thing unites these men and women, the same thing that unites you here today: the ideal of service.
Throughout the history of the organization, members of the RCMP have understood service and known the importance of their role in society.
You are ambassadors in the community, ensuring that prevention is just as important as identifying offenders and solving crimes. You preserve our laws and educate us about them. You are mediators and counsellors in times of grief. You go beyond the call of duty in situations that require you to do so, going the extra mile for the public good. You keep us safe.
It is fitting that we have gathered together to mourn these Canadians as we join with others around the world to mark the 10th anniversary of the terrible attacks of September 11, 2001. On that tragic day, police, other emergency services personnel and ordinary people sacrificed themselves to save the lives of others. Members of the RCMP were ready to lend a hand to their brothers and sisters in uniform, as well as to those US citizens who were stranded on this side of the border. Once again, we showed our caring nation to the world, and the RCMP was no small part of that.
On that day, and on so many other days, we saw the resilience and adaptability of our police forces. We can be proud that we came together, as a global community, to raise our collective voice against terror.
The service shown to Canada and to the world by the RCMP and by those who have lost their lives over the years to uphold our ideals will never be forgotten.
There are 228 names on the honour roll. Behind those names are 228 families in mourning; and 228 times that Canadians have stood behind those families to express their grief over the loss of an officer.
Sharon and I are honoured to be here, to remember these brave Canadians and to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.