The Viceregal Lion
  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Order of Military Merit Investiture Ceremony

Rideau Hall, Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I am delighted to welcome you to Rideau Hall, home of the people of Canada, for this Order of Military Merit investiture ceremony.

Let me begin with a famous story from the early days of the space race. The story takes place at NASA headquarters, where American president John F. Kennedy was touring the facilities and introducing himself to employees.

The President met a janitor, mopping the floor, and stopped to ask him what he did at NASA.

“I put men on the moon,” the janitor said.

As someone who has always believed that we are only as good as the people who surround us, I think this story is instructive. The janitor was absolutely right. No matter where we are situated within the ranks of an organization, each of us plays a role in overall success. The only question is: to what extent do we embrace that responsibility and strive for excellence?

Without a doubt, those of you being inducted into the Order of Military Merit today have both embraced your responsibilities and achieved excellence.

Each of you has shown an extraordinary dedication to the Canadian Forces. You have gone beyond the call of duty—often without fanfare or recognition—and that is why I am so pleased to celebrate your service today.

I often speak of the Canadian Forces as a unique family in which role models are vitally important. It is equally important, however, that each member of the Forces be guided from within by the principle of duty with honour that acts as the “centre of gravity” for the military profession in Canada.

Duty with honour.

In that short phrase lies the great promise of the Canadian Forces to contribute to a more peaceful, secure and just world. As members of the Order of Military Merit, you understand your role in helping others and in defending Canada’s democratic values.

It has been a privilege to see up close the dedication of the Canadian Forces. I am proud to serve as your commander-in-chief.

I would also like to extend a special thanks to your families and loved ones, who provide such essential support and caring behind the scenes. Truly, this honour also belongs to them. 

As chancellor of the Order of Military Merit, I have been honoured to serve during this, the Order’s 40th anniversary year. Congratulations on your achievements, and thank you for your service to Canada.