“We Stand on Guard for Thee” is not just a line from our National Anthem. It represents the tremendous sacrifice made by members of the Canadian Armed Forces for the mission of freedom and prosperity. On November 11th every year, we call to mind the legacy of our veterans and pause to show our gratitude for those who gave so much.
In the 156 years of the Dominion of Canada, our brave men and women have answered the call to selflessly serve our country time and time again.
From demonstrating immense bravery during World War I, to the more recent war in Afghanistan and active participation in peacekeeping missions abroad, members of the Canadian Armed Forces have contended for freedom and democracy with unrelenting commitment.
On Remembrance Day, we pause to remember and honour the sacrifice of those in uniform.
We remember they entered the most harrowing conditions to win for us the most precious of things – freedom.
Freedom means the government serves the people, not the other way around.
Our veterans fought against authoritarianism and won.
When a nation is anchored in freedom and democracy is upheld, people can elect representatives and hold them accountable. This accountability in turn brings stability, a key ingredient to human flourishing.
Thanks to our veterans, Canadians have the freedom to pursue opportunity, prosper, and enjoy fulfilling lives.
There are real consequences in forgetting the values for which our service men and women fought and died. Governments will always be tempted to overpower their people, but it is only when people remember the value of freedom that they can maintain it.
President Ronald Reagan said "freedom is a fragile thing and its never more than a generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation."
Lest we forget the reason so many sacrificed their lives.
Many dictators have made promises of freedom and while dictators may be free themselves, they will always enslave those under their rule.
When we honour our veterans, we honour how they bought and maintained the liberties we enjoy today.
The people of Lethbridge have their own special legacy worth calling to mind. In the First World War, one in five people in Lethbridge enlisted to serve, but 261 men never came home.
Every fall, I look forward to seeing Lethbridge’s "Salute our Veterans Project," where we fly banners on light posts throughout Lethbridge as a heartfelt tribute to the brave women and men who have served our nation.
We will remember them.
Remembrance does not glorify war. It honours the women and men who gave up everything so we could enjoy abundance.
The red poppy acts as a powerful sign of remembrance and hope for a peaceful future.
In the centre of town is the Lethbridge War Memorial, and on it are the words “They Have Passed in Leaving the Heritage of Glorious Memory.” Freedom has been bought for us by those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and is maintained by those who still answer the call to service.
Lest we forget.