Order of Military Merit Investiture Ceremony
Rideau Hall, Friday, November 8, 2013
Welcome to Rideau Hall, the home of the people of Canada, for this unique investiture.
I use the word ‘unique’ with good reason. Each induction into the Order is different because of the individuals involved, because each of your stories is unique. You hail from across the country and, taken together, your experiences are impressively varied.
Collectively, you have seen combat, you have supported the troops on the front lines in leadership roles; you have proven yourselves to be invaluable members of a military family that values duty, honour and loyalty.
You have earned the respect of your peers and you have earned my own respect, as well. I am proud to be your commander-in-chief, to represent the ideals that you have defended time and again. I think back to all the opportunities I have had to put on the uniform, to feel, for a brief instant, what all of you feel, to have the impression of being a part of the Canadian Armed Forces’ family.
More than that, I look ahead to next week, when we will all come together in remembrance of those we have lost, soldiers who paid the ultimate price in wars throughout our history—brave men and women who fought for Canada.
The poppy I wear today is a symbol of remembrance, a symbol of sacrifice, but it is so much more than that.
To me, this poppy is also a promise to all of you. It is a promise to honour your accomplishments. It is a promise to perform my own duties as commander-in-chief to the best of my ability. It is a promise to recognize veterans and soldiers and support staff, all of whom make important contributions to ourcountry.
Presiding over your induction into the Order of Military Merit is one way I keep my promise to you. Today, we recognize you, members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have shown yourselves to be a cut above, who have gone beyond the everyday tasks and who have brought great honour to our nation.
I spoke earlier of your uniqueness, but all of you share the same quality of merit, being particularly worthy of the praise and recognition you receive today.
What is impressive is not just the work, but the consistency of your work. You have proven your distinction, your leadership, your exceptional service on more than one occasion. To you, excellence is a constant, yet you always strive to do better on behalf of the country you serve.
And that, of course, is the hallmark of a good person in uniform, and a good Canadian.
Whether you are invested as a commander, officer or member, you are joining a cadre of military men and women who, for more than 40 years, have demonstrated exceptional merit.
As a Canadian, I am grateful for what you have done, and as governor general and commander-in-chief, I am proud of your dedication to duty and am delighted to honour you in this way.