May 12, 2023
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Before we begin today, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the tragic loss of Sergeant Eric Mueller, a police officer who was tragically killed in the line of duty after an incident yesterday, just outside of Ottawa.
I would also like to acknowledge the two provincial police officers who were seriously injured in this same incident.
I offer my most profound sympathies to their families and loved ones during this difficult time.
My husband, Whit, and I join with all of you and your colleagues in remembering those who have died wearing a uniform in service to our communities and our country. Whether military, police or other first responders, Canadians mourn the fallen alongside you.
In memory of those we have lost, I ask that you join me in a moment of silence.
I would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinabe people who have lived on and cared for this land for thousands of years.
Welcome to Rideau Hall and congratulations to all those being invested into the Order of Military Merit.
What you do day-to-day is not easy. It requires great dedication and sacrifice. Often you are away from family and friends for months on end. You face danger regularly.
But day after day, you persevere. You show us what service truly means. You support each other through great strife and represent our country with honour, loyalty, integrity, courage, excellence, inclusion and accountability.
As commander-in-chief, I work closely with military members—some of whom are in this room. I have gotten to know them and, by extension, have a greater understanding of the strength required to serve.
It is important for us to honour and celebrate the accomplishments of military members all over the country. That is why we are here today.
All of you have made a commitment to service.
Despite the challenges you face, you have all performed your duties with great honour and dedication. You represent the very best of the Canadian Armed Forces and are helping inspire the next generation of CAF members.
It’s why we are honouring you today.
Your families deserve our gratitude as well, because they also sacrifice. They also face challenges. And though they often face them silently and out of the public eye, it is no less important. To every family member here today, we applaud your resilience.
As I’ve already said, what you see and what you experience in the military is hard.
It can have a direct effect on your mental health.
So I leave you today with one message: take care of yourselves. Take care of not only your physical health, but also your mental health. Get help if you need it. Encourage others to do the same.
We hear your stories, but few Canadians can understand what it means to walk in your shoes. There is a support system in this room. Take the time to share your stories with each other while here. Get to know each other. Learn from each other.
Congratulations once again on your investiture in the Order of Military Merit. Thank you for all that you do for our country and our people.