150th Anniversary of the Canadian Grenadier Guards

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150th Anniversary of the Canadian Grenadier Guards

Montreal, Saturday, May 15, 2010

Before I begin, I would like us to take the time to meditate on and honour the memory of Private Kevin Thomas McKay who paid the ultimate sacrifice while proudly serving in Afghanistan.

I will be in Trenton tomorrow with his family. We will never forget him.

Let us take a minute of silence. 

Each summer, members of the Canadian Grenadier Guards join the Ceremonial Guard, which carries out public duties including the Changing of the Guard on Parliament Hill and the Relief of the Sentries at Rideau Hall.

Before a new season begins, I wanted to take this opportunity to visit you at your training and parade ground, in the heart of Montreal, to extend my best wishes on the occasion of your 150th anniversary. 

I have seen you at work on numerous occasions, and I want to say how proud I am to be your commander-in-chief and colonel, and how pleased I am today to become a life member of the Sergeants Mess and honorary subaltern of the oldest militia unit in Canada.

In addition to its ceremonial duties, your infantry regiment has served and continues to serve our country, in wartime and in peacetime.

You were at the front during the great conflicts that have marked our history, including the battles leading up to the Allied victory in 1945, the 65th anniversary of which we are commemorating this year.

Here among us today are veterans who defended the values of freedom, justice and peace during the Second World War, to whom I extend heartfelt greetings. 

The regiment's commitment to serve overseas has continued over the years, under the auspices of the UN and NATO, including in the former Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Egypt and the Golan Heights.

Some of you are getting ready to serve in Afghanistan, and I want to pay tribute to your dedication and to thank you for all you will be doing to help out those still under the yoke of violence and oppression.

And I want to express my respect and recognition for the work you do, while preserving the link with your civilian lives, which also demand so much of you.

I also want to thank your families, who are supporting you in the choice you have made to join the Reserve.

You have every reason to be proud of your regiment, and of the invaluable service to which all of you are so determined and committed.

Members of the Canadian Grenadier Guards, this is not "goodbye," but rather "till we meet again," as we will be seeing each other in a few weeks' time when you prepare to take on your summer duties.

I thank you for this warm welcome, and say long live this exemplary regiment, our very own Canadian Grenadier Guards!