Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement on Remembrance Day:
“Today, Canadians across the country gather to remember and honour the generations of Canadian men and women in uniform who left the warmth of their homes and the comfort of their families to face the hardships of conflict. We pay tribute to those who have and continue to defend our country, and promote and protect the universal values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law that we continue to hold dear.
“Across the centuries, Canadians have always answered the call to defend their nation. During the War of 1812, English and French-speaking Canadians joined with First Nations allies and British forces in defending Canada against invasion. This year, November 11 marks the bicentennial of a critical battle of that war, the Battle of Crysler’s Farm, where early Canadians from Upper and Lower Canada, as well as First Nations allies, fought with courage and determination to defend their homes and communities.
“In the two centuries that have followed, more than two million Canadians have served in South Africa, in two World Wars, the Korean War, and in many other international military efforts, such as more recent missions in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Libya and Mali.
“Their valour still echoes throughout the world in places like Vimy Ridge, Ypres, Normandy, Hong Kong, the Scheldt, Sicily, Kapyong, and Kandahar, whose citizens honour the sacrifices made in the name of their freedom.
“Sadly, many of these brave Canadians paid the ultimate price as a result of their stalwart opposition to tyranny. There are no words for the debt we owe them and their families.
“The tremendous determination, courage and devotion of our service men and women in these far off places have generated substantive international respect for our country. They have also generated an immense national pride that has united Canadians, allowing us to reach new heights as a nation.
“The same proud tradition, spirit and values that Canadians in uniform held dear decades ago are still very much alive today in those who continue to serve our great country on land, at sea and in the air through peace support and combat missions.
“On this special day, let us pay our heartfelt tribute to all members of the Canadian Armed Forces – both past and present – whose selflessness, courage and sacrifices have given us the freedom we enjoy, the democracy by which we govern ourselves and the justice under which we live.
“Lest we forget.”