Yesterday’s events in Ottawa coupled with those in St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu, serve to bring home the reality of the world that we live in today. Years ago, and even as recently as the past few days, Canadians left our country to defend our rights and our way of life. The events of this past week in Quebec and our nation’s capital have now brought home to Canadians that there are those who do not respect our values and are willing to harm the very fabric of our society.
Canadians are respected the world over and have joined with like-minded nations in many conflict areas around the globe. Because we have been there, and fought alongside our allies to protect what we as Canadians all hold dear, the reality that there are those who will do us harm has come to our shores and our communities.
All Legionnaires join me with deep respect in honouring our personnel who serve in the Canadian Armed Forces and our security and first responder organizations. Our hearts and sympathies go out to the families of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo. There is no sense to the random killing of unarmed people who served so valiantly. Howard Zinn, the noted author, historian and Veteran of the Second World War once said, “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”
We as Canadians have a proud heritage of service and compassion. Our principles will not be diminished, but as we move forward we will have a new sense of vigilance.
Today, in recognition of the events we have all experienced, The Royal Canadian Legion joins the Government of Canada in half-masting our flags in respect of our fallen comrades and their families. This can begin immediately and will continue until further notice.
The Royal Canadian Legion is well engaged in its plans for Remembrance services to take place in cities, towns and villages across Canada. While recent events may have raised concerns we will stand strong with our partners in security and first-response to deliver these services Canadians have come to embrace. As we approach this Remembrance period, we ask all Canadians to join us in honouring and respecting those who are serving our nation, those who have served so valiantly and those who have made the supreme sacrifice for our values and freedoms.
We Will Remember Them.