September 19, 2023
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I would like to first acknowledge that we gather on the territory of many Indigenous peoples who have lived on and cared for these lands for thousands of years.
Welcome everyone to the Citadelle. Today, we recognize your actions with the Decorations for Bravery: the Star of Courage and the Medal of Bravery.
Today, we present these insignia as the ultimate recognition of courage and sacrifice. Today we pay tribute to your brave and selfless actions. Today we honour your stories.
Our experiences make us who we are. We will soon read your stories out loud, continuing a rich and long tradition of recognition and thanks for your exceptional actions. Your experiences have marked you.
They may have left you with scars and challenges, but they now form part of who you are – people who care enough to do what is right.
You each have different paths that brought you here to this moment. Some of you have made a commitment to serve the public good, to protect in times of great and grave danger. Others acted in a moment of need. All of you made a choice: to try to save a life.
You gave the most important gift in an impossible, life-altering situation. You gave the gift of hope. Hope not only for the victims, but also for our own common humanity. You showed how much you care. Bravery is an act of caring, after all.
It’s what you all have in common.
And you share this trait with so many other Canadians.
We draw inspiration from you and your actions. And we draw inspiration from all those who have come before you. You underline the difference that one person can make.
You inspire us to look after each other, to come together as a community and as a country to make things better. This is what these decorations mean to us.