Launch of the 2014 Poppy Campaign
Rideau Hall, Tuesday, October 21, 2014
I am honoured to welcome all of you to Rideau Hall for the launch of the Poppy Campaign and to receive the first poppy.
Poppies are symbols of remembrance, of the members of the Canadian Armed Forces who have fought and sacrificed throughout our country’s history.
We wear them to honour and remember all that our soldiers have done, and all that they have struggled to achieve.
This year is a momentous one for Canada, as 2014 marks several military anniversaries.
- It is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the First World War.
- The 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War.
- The 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.
- The 100th anniversaries of the Royal Montreal Regiment, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and the Royal 22e Régiment.
And that is only a sampling of how important this year is to our men and women in uniform, and to the history of our nation.
But let us not let these little red flowers, which will become so visible in the coming months, fade into the background.
Each poppy represents a man or woman in uniform. A wound received by the enemy. Each mourns the loss of a soldier. Each celebrates and honours what our veterans have done for our country, and what the Canadian Armed Forces continue to do, at home and around the world.
Let us also remember that, in addition to their sacrifices in times of war, these men and women do so much good in times of peace.
They are ambassadors, peacekeepers and nation builders. They rescue Canadians in distress and shore up community support when disasters strike. We rely on them in so many areas, it is only fitting that we honour them every year.
Let me end with part of a verse from “In Flanders Field,” the famous poem by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, whose museum I will be visiting during my trip to Belgium next week. In this verse, he writes about our responsibility to remember:
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields