Today we honour the tens of thousands of ordinary Canadians who, throughout our history, have volunteered to fight and die for the founding values of our society: freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
The character of our country has been defined by their accomplishments. Because our soldiers stood up to tyranny, we live in freedom. Because of their courage and sacrifice, Canadians have the privilege to live in one the most prosperous and safe countries in the world.
Our soldiers stood up for Canada. And we honour them by remembering:
- The punishing sacrifices at Vimy Ridge and Ypres during World War I;
- The one million volunteers (nearly 10% of our population) for the Canadian Forces in World War II;
- Our nation’s contribution to the UN police action in Korea; and
- The thousands of soldiers who served in U.N. peacekeeping operations during the latter half of the 20th century.
Remembrance Day reminds us that, when the cause is just, Canada answers the call.
And so it is today in Afghanistan.
More than two score of our troops have fallen since we joined the United Nations mission to rescue Afghanistan from tyranny, terrorism and the Taliban in the months after 9-11.
This week we remember them, too.
I am proud to support the men and women of the Canadian Forces and their families. I join all Canadians in honouring their bravery and sacrifice, not only today, but for all time.