Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence:
My name is Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence for Canada, and I wanted to deliver a short message to you before you watch this great Veterans’ Week video.
I know this has been a tough eight months for all of us, and I want to thank you for doing your part to stop the spread of COVID-19.
On Remembrance Day, we remember the bravery of our Veterans, and we reflect on the sacrifices they made to fight for our freedom, and defend Canada.
This is also a time to think of the people who are serving in the Canadian Armed Forces today, so that our country, our values and our way of life are well defended…
They are the Veterans of tomorrow.
I hope that you enjoy hearing more about our Veterans, and that you share what you have learned with those around you. Lest we forget.
Lt Hermione Wilson:
I am a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and I am proud to join a number of my colleagues in this video and share our story with you today.
Like all members of the military, my job is to keep you and Canada safe.
On Remembrance Day, we remember Canada’s sailors, soldiers and aviators who have risked, or even lost, their lives so we could live with freedoms, in peace and enjoying our Canadian way of life.
We remember those Canadians who left their families, friends and communities, during times of conflict and war, for months, or even years, at a time, to fight for freedom and for peace.
They did so and continue to do so knowing that they may never come home again.
Trooper Jeffrey Morgan:
Picture yourself in the 1940’s…
Walking for hours carrying a heavy backpack, drenched in rain or sweating through extreme heat.
You haven’t bathed or eaten a meal that didn’t come out of a can in weeks. You dig a deep hole in the ground to catch a few hours’ sleep, which is often interrupted by a duty watch or enemy attack.
You are a Canadian soldier.
S1 JC Richards:
Feel the freezing winds and water of the Atlantic as you stand watch for enemy submarines and airplanes trying to stop you from delivering vital supplies. You may be in knee-deep water that has flooded your ship and you haven’t seen land for weeks.
You are a Canadian sailor.
Cpl Jonathan Doiron:
Now you’re flying through fog, clouds and rain, in the dark of night, without radar. Enemy artillery shells rock your plane and test your courage. You don’t know whether you’ll make it back to the airfield or crash into enemy territory, but you have to continue on to drop bombs on your target.
You are a Canadian aviator.
Cpl Kira Speck:
You are one of one million Canadians who wonder if you’ll ever see home again … if you’ll ever kiss your mother or hug your father again … if you’ll ever grow old.
45,000 Canadians did not.
They never returned from the Second World War.
Lt(N) Clay Ridd:
On Remembrance Day, we also pay tribute to veterans of the Korean and Afghanistan wars as well as numerous other international missions. More than 500 Canadians lost their lives in Korea and 158 Canadian Armed Forces members did not come back from Afghanistan.
Many who returned carry the consequences of war with them, battling long-term physical, psychological and emotional wounds.
Despite the unimaginable challenges, generations of our bravest and best Canadians have risked their lives for our freedom.
Determined to keep Canadians safe, to defend our way of life, and to try to make the world a better place.
That’s something we must never forget - the unimaginable heroism and great sacrifices made by our Canadian veterans.
LCol Melissa Reyes:
Today, Canadian Armed Forces members continue to risk their own health and safety to protect others.
While many continue to be deployed overseas on United Nations and NATO missions, others serve here at home.
Responding to natural disasters, like floods, forest fires and snowstorms across the country.
Carrying out lifesaving search and rescue missions by air, ground and sea. Responding to about 1,000 search and rescue calls each year.
Major Matthew Johns:
More recently, others put their medical training to work helping to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whatever – and wherever – the need, Canadians can count on us to keep them and our country safe. Just as our veterans did.
That’s the link that ties today’s military members with those who came before us.
We are all part of the Canadian family.
And we are all in this together.