Canada’s National War Memorial, the scene of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo’s death less than a month ago, was rededicated today to add the dates of the Afghanistan mission and the South African War and a new inscription: “In Service to Canada — Au service du Canada.”
The rededication was performed by Governor General David Johnston and Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne.
Johnston said, “We are people of peace, of respect and tolerance, kindness and honour. These qualities are alive in our national conscience precisely because we hold them as precious. We have the luxury to do so because those we remember today believed those qualities to be precious enough to die for.”
HRH Princess Anne read a message from her mother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: “Seventy-five years ago, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth dedicated this National War Memorial in honour of all those who paid the supreme sacrifice in the Great War. Today it is fitting that, with this ceremony of rededication, we pay tribute to all those Canadians who in the intervening years have laid down their lives in the service of peace, justice and freedom.”
The war memorial was first dedicated by King George VI in May 1939, to mark the sacrifices of those who fought in the First World War. He called it “the spontaneous response of the nation’s conscience, revealing the very soul of the nation.”
In a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Harper said, “We can never repay the debt we owe to the intrepid men and women who paid for our freedom with their lives, but we can remember their enormous sacrifices and pay tribute to their bravery and patriotism.”
Princess Anne joined Johnston at the National War Memorial, along with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. NDP Leader Tom Mulcair attended the ceremony in Halifax.
Others attending included:
- Vice-Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Princess Anne’s husband.
- Laureen Harper, the prime minister’s wife.
- Sharon Johnston, wife of the Governor General.
- Senate Speaker Noël Kinsella.
- Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino.
- Gen. Thomas Lawson, chief of defence staff.