On Thursday, November 3, 2016, Speaker of the Senate, the Honourable George J. Furey, Q.C, hosted the 19th Annual Ceremony of Remembrance in the Red Chamber along with Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Kent Hehr, and Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable Geoff Regan.
The event signaled the beginning of Veterans’ Week in Canada, which runs from November 5 to 11.
The Senate ceremony invites veterans and serving Canadian Armed Forces personnel to participate in the official launch of Veterans’ Week, which encourages acts of remembrance and continued support for Canada’s veterans.
“Over two million Canadian men and women from all walks of life have made, and continue to make lasting contributions during times of war, conflict and peace,” said Speaker Furey.
“Today, we commend the bravery of these individuals and reflect on the sacrifices made by our brave men and women in uniform.”
Over the course of the week, the Government of Canada, as well as veterans’ organizations, youth groups, and individuals throughout the country hold hundreds of commemorative ceremonies and events to honour Canada’s veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members and RCMP personnel, as well as those who have fallen in the line of duty.
“They have known first-hand what it means to face the many difficulties associated with military conflict and have given this country an immeasurable gift through their service,” said Speaker Furey.
“To them and to those who came before them, we are forever indebted and grateful.”
Speaker Furey spoke to the significance of July 1st to his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador as this year marked the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. On this date every year, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians observe Memorial Day in honour of the hundreds of members of the Newfoundland Regiment who lost their lives fighting at Beaumont-Hamel at the opening of the Somme offensive.
“The great English writer and World War I veteran Edmund Blunden wrote on the bravery of soldiers fallen in war: They died in splendour, these who claimed no spark of glory…save the light in a friend's eye. May we forever preserve their memory, and may we never forget them. May that be our solemn promise,” concluded Speaker Furey.
Next year, Canada will mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele and the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid.