Today we remember the more than two million young Canadians who have donned uniforms to defend our Country: Ypres, Vimy Ridge, The Hochwald, Breskins, Ortona, Kap’Yong, Hill 355, the Medak Pocket, the White School House in Panjwai Afghanistan.
It has been their service that has created this Country of which we are so proud and which has become the greatest free democratic state in the world!
They fought for Canada in the fields and skies of Europe one hundred years ago.
Then, seventy years ago the threat came closer to home as submarines brought the fight to our very shores.
Today we are in a new war — a different sort of war than we have ever engaged in before. A war not of our choosing, but a war that will define who we are; and will determine our future and our survival!
A war without uniforms; without nationality; and, without countries or boundaries. We are supposed to believe it is a war of ideologies — but it isn’t!
It is a war of senseless, inhumane brutality waged by people with a prehistoric mentality and a complete disregard for life — yours or theirs!
Only a couple of weeks ago the murders of Warrant Vincent in Montreal and Corporal Cirillo at the Cenotaph in Ottawa have brought this war to the very heart of Canada, and it is a threat to everything for which we stand and which we treasure; and for which more than 160,000 Canadians in uniform who have given their lives!
Today the enemy is in our midst!
As of last month one no longer has to wear a Canadian uniform to be in the battle — no longer is it only our serving personnel who bear the responsibility for protecting our Country.
As of this past month we are all — young and old, male and female, new Canadian and old Canadian — white, red, yellow, black — every single one of us is in the fight… like it or not!
And we do not have a choice as to whether we will get involved – our enemies have made that decision for us! There are no more pacifists!
And whether you have thought about it before or not, all of your lives you have repeated over and over an oath to protect and to fight for Canada. Since childhood how many thousands of times have you sung “Oh Canada! I stand on guard for Thee”.
Now each of you is being called upon to honour that oft sung oath!
Whether you like it or not and whether you wear a uniform or not you are now in this ride for the entire trip!
Today we remember those who stood up for Canada in the past. Now the best way we can remember them with honour is to accept our own responsibility to stand up to the enemy within our Country, and those outside who are threatening us, by being alert and actively loyal.
God bless those we remember today — and may God give us the strength and the wisdom to fight our enemies today and tomorrow as loyally and as courageously as those we remember today did in the past!