PM hails nation’s highest military decoration as now ‘truly Canadian’
16 May 2008
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General Michaëlle Jean today unveiled Canada’s newly minted Victoria Cross medal at a formal ceremony at Rideau Hall.
Until now the Victoria Cross, Canada’s highest military decoration, was minted in Britain. All future medals awarded to Canadians will be minted in Canada. Though the design is faithful to the original design commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1856, Canada’s Victoria Cross includes a number of small but significant Canadian design and content features. "Today the Victoria Cross becomes fully, truly Canadian," Prime Minister Harper said.
The original inscription, "For Valour," has been changed to the Latin "Pro Valore," on Canada’s Victoria Cross. "We are using the ancient language employed by our English and French ancestors to express the universal ideal that they shared," said the Prime Minister. Other uniquely Canadian elements include metal from the 1867 Confederation medal, as well as metals from each of Canada’s regions.
Ninety-four Canadians have won the Victoria Cross for displaying extraordinary courage, endurance and sacrifice in battle. The last living recipient, Second World War veteran Smoky Smith, died just over a year ago.
Every day, in military missions at home and abroad, Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen are putting their lives on the line for us", said Prime Minister Harper. "Someday, somewhere, one of those men or women will do something so brave, so gallant, so exceptional, that he or she will join the legendary cadre of the Canadian Forces who wear the pride of a nation on their chests".
Canada’s Victoria Cross was produced through a collaboration of the Departments of National Defence, Veterans Affairs, and Natural Resources, the Royal Canadian Mint and Rideau Hall.