OTTAWA, Nov. 11, 2017 /CNW/ - The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence and the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, issued the following statement today on Remembrance Day:
"Remembrance Day, first observed in 1919 throughout much of the British Commonwealth, was initially known as Armistice Day to commemorate the signing of the agreement that ended the fighting in the First World War on Monday, November 11, 1918, at 11 a.m.—the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
"Each year, on the anniversary of this special day, we continue to recognize and thank the brave Canadians in uniform who have served—and continue to serve—our country in times of war, military conflict and peace. They protect and preserve the rights and freedoms we enjoy today, and for that we owe them an eternal debt of gratitude.
"In November 2017, Canada marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele. In a muddy corner of Belgium, Canadians overcame almost unimaginable hardships to capture this ruined village in the fall of 1917. Some 100,000 members of the Canadian Corps took part in the battle. Victory there came at a great cost, with more than 4,000 Canadian soldiers killed and almost 12,000 wounded. Nine soldiers earned the Victoria Cross for their actions during the Battle of Passchendaele—the highest award for military valour a Canadian can receive.
"Today, Canadians unite to express their gratitude and appreciation for our past and present Veterans, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, their families and those who have given their lives in service. We recognize the long tradition of military service of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit and their contributions to our country.
"Together, let us think deeply about, and be grateful for, the sacrifices made by generations of Canadians and those who continue to serve our country. Each and every one of them deserves our utmost appreciation and respect.
"Lest we forget."
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468, [email protected]; Alex Wellstead, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations, Department of National Defence, 613-996-2353, [email protected]; Scott Bardsley, Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, 613-998-5681; Media Relations, Public Safety Canada, 613-991-0657, [email protected]