Acting Commander Canadian Army’s Statement on Remembrance Day 2021

Statement / November 11, 2021

November 11, 2021 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Major-General Michel-Henri St-Louis, Acting Commander Canadian Army, issued the following statement:

Today, Canadians join together in solemn reflection on the generations of soldiers, sailors, and aviators who have made great sacrifices to ensure the freedom of our nation and further the cause of peace across the world.

This year, we are also marking several important military anniversaries. Though long periods of time and vast geographical distances separate them, they all serve to illustrate the same fundamental principle that drives the Canadian Armed Forces: service above self.

Our combat operations in Afghanistan concluded just 10 years ago, and our mission ended three years later. Its legacy is very present today in the minds of those who experienced it; many of whom continue to serve. Some 40,000 Canadians answered the call – not only to fight but to rebuild. Four civilians and 158 military personnel made the ultimate sacrifice.

It was 30 years ago that Canada’s combat role in the first Gulf War came to a close. Canadian participation peaked at 4000 personnel, including the first female Canadian Armed Forces members to serve in combat roles. After combat operations ended in 1991, our troops remained to support UN peacekeeping efforts, which included clearing landmines to create a safer environment.

In April of this year, we commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Kapyong – an important moment for Canada in the Korean War. Canadians endured days of heavy fighting to ensure overwhelmed South Korean forces could safely withdraw. Ten laid down their lives in the battle and are counted among the 516 Canadians who fell over the course of the war.

This year is the 80th anniversary of the Defence of Hong Kong. In December 1941, Japan launched an attack on the island, where Canadians were part of a small force of just 14,000. In the fighting, they suffered a casualty rate of over 50 per cent. Many would suffer further as prisoners of war. A memorial at Sai Wan Bay War Cemetery on the island commemorates the fallen, including 228 Canadians whose gravesites are unknown.

One hundred and five years ago, Canadians and Newfoundlanders were part of the Battle of the Somme. A grueling fight, lasting over four months, the Somme is emblematic of the horrific nature of warfare in the First World War. More than 24,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders were lost and are remembered among the 66,000 lost over the entire conflict.

Today, let’s come together in reflection on the sacrifices of the past and those still being made by Canadian Armed Forces members of today.

Lest we forget.

Major-General Michel-Henri St-Louis
Acting Commander Canadian Army

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