Remembrance Day 2012: An Open Letter to Canadians from the Veterans Ombudsman
November 9, 2012
We come together during Veterans’ Week to pay tribute to those who have lost their life in service to our country. We recognize the more than 750,000 Veterans in Canada who have served our country honourably – as part of the Canadian Forces and the RCMP – both here and abroad, in times of peace and times of conflict. And we acknowledge the men and women who continue to serve today.
As the Veterans Ombudsman and a Canadian Veteran, I want you to know how significant and meaningful your act of remembrance is to Veterans and serving members of the Canadian Forces and the RCMP. For many Veterans and their families, Veterans’ Week, and particularly Remembrance Day, brings to the fore painful memories; your expression of gratitude is a source of pride and great comfort to them. It is an acknowledgement of their personal sacrifice, resilience and strength.
On Sunday, Canadians will pause in silence to remember the Fallen. We owe an eternal debt of gratitude to those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We pay tribute to them through our collective moment of silence every November 11, but we live every day in the peace and security for which they fought.
While the majority of men and women leave the service healthy, too many return carrying physical, mental and emotional reminders of their service to our country. As a nation, we owe them and their families the assurance that they will be properly cared for upon their return. Ensuring that their needs are met is our country’s most meaningful expression of gratitude.
Come November 12th, our Veterans will put away the uniforms and medals that symbolize their service, but be assured that their loyalty and commitment to Canada remains strong. Across the nation, Veterans better their communities with their skills and leadership, as volunteers, coaches, teachers, entrepreneurs, public servants, etc. There is not one community in Canada that is not stronger and more enriched in spirit because of the ongoing commitment on the part of its Veterans.
A Veteran’s contribution to our country never ceases. And neither should Canadians’ gratitude to our Veterans. I encourage Canadians to acknowledge the service of the Veterans in your communities, each and every day.
Lest we forget.