A Week to Remember

Ottawa – November 6, 2013

It seems to me that we spend 51 weeks of every year debating whether our Veterans and their families are treated with respect and dignity, and whether the Government of Canada meets its obligation to them to compensate for pain, suffering and opportunities lost through service illness or injuries. To me, Veterans’ Week is a time to remember and emphasize why our Veterans and their families deserve the utmost care and respect from the Government and all Canadians.

All who signed on the dotted line to serve with the Canadian Forces or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police agree to serve with honor and dignity and to risk it all, up to and including their lives. They do not do it for monetary gain or heroic recognition; they do it for love of country and for being a part of protecting our ideals and values. They don’t question the details of their mission, because their commitment to go all the way was already made. It is only right that the Government care for our Veterans with the same commitment that they have shown time and time again to our nation. Just as we can count on them, they should rest assured that they can count on their country to welcome them back with open arms, and see them through their transition back to civilian life.

Although our memories of the heroes of World War One have begun to fade somewhat, their sacrifice has not and the impact of their service to the world and to helping define who we are as Canadians should never be forgotten. Next year, as we commemorate events of that World War, let us be moved by the ultimate sacrifices made by these Canadian soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen, and be mindful of the things we should or could have done and did not do to ensure their well-being. Let us learn from these lessons, and commit to not making the same mistakes with the Veterans who follow in their footsteps.

As our World War Two and Korean Veterans pass on, let us seek to find the injured or ill silent minority who could still benefit from our assistance, which they never sought, being too proud, too shy, or too sick to come forward.

As for the modern day Veteran, injured or ill because of NATO deployments, peacekeeping missions, Afghanistan or other activities of service, let us recognize their valuable contribution by renewing our commitment to supporting them throughout their challenging return home. Let each of us offer a simple “thank you for your service” to those we meet on the street. Let`s extend that very same greeting and heartfelt appreciation to the uniformed members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP who may be called at any time to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Veterans’ Week is a period of reflection, commemoration and appreciation for citizens of Canada who have dedicated or sacrificed their lives to the service of others. It is also a time for us to be mindful of the impact that their service commitment has had on their quality of life and that of their families.

By attending a local Remembrance Day ceremony, wearing a poppy, or thanking a Veteran this week, Canadians from all walks of life recognize the commitment and dedication of the brave men and women who wore our country’s uniform and served to uphold our values and freedoms.

I encourage you to take the time this week to reflect, honour, and appreciate our Veterans, and to carry that appreciation with you throughout the year.

Lest we forget.

Guy

To find Veterans Week events in your area, please visit http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/veterans-week/mappings .

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