On November 11 each year, Canadians pause for a moment to remember the contributions and sacrifices that the men and women of our armed forces have made throughout our history. Their participation in two world wars and the many other conflicts in which Canada has been involved as a NATO ally stand as a testament to the courage on which Canada is built. Our veterans have helped to shape the future of our country and have solidified our reputation on the world stage as a nation that upholds human rights, and acts globally to protect the most vulnerable.
One of my responsibilities as a Member of Parliament is to lay a Remembrance Day wreath on behalf of the Government of Canada at one of the many ceremonies organized by the Royal Canadian Legion branches in my riding. This year I will be attending the Remembrance Day ceremony in Osoyoos, and will be ably represented by community members at ceremonies from Princeton to Castlegar. I encourage you to attend a cenotaph ceremony in your community at 11 a.m. on November 11.
Part of our commemorations on Remembrance Day must be a commitment to ensure that veterans and their families are well cared for, and receive all the services and support to which they are entitled. You have my assurance that I will work diligently with my colleagues in Ottawa to implement key reforms to programs and services that will improve the lives of veterans and their dependents. It is the very least we can do.
Did you know that through its Poppy Campaign, the Royal Canadian Legion raises funds that allow it to continue its work in serving veterans and their dependants, and in promoting Remembrance in perpetuity? Please buy a poppy from a cadet, Legion member or volunteer organization, and wear it proudly as a symbol of hope and sacrifice. The Legion has also, for many years, sponsored the annual Literary and Poster Contest that is open to all Canadian school children, and has created an excellent teacher resource book, available on line at http://legion.ca/
If you ever have an opportunity to visit Ottawa, take some time to view the seven Books of Remembrance displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower of the House of Commons. These hand-written and illuminated volumes contain the names of the more than 118,000 Canadians who, since Confederation, have been killed while serving our country in uniform. They commemorate Canada’s young soldiers, nurses, sailors, merchant mariners and Air Force men and women who lost their lives during times of peace and conflict.
The men and women who have served our country so bravely must be remembered and must be mourned, as they have paid the ultimate price to ensure peace, justice and freedom in our world. We must also remember those who continue to serve today in the Canadian Armed Forces. Whether we agree with a particular mission or not, it is my sincere belief that we must thank them for their loyalty and commitment to our country.
– Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior