Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on Remembrance Day

Hong Kong
11 November 2012

Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered the following remarks in Hong Kong on Remembrance Day:

“Thank you Consul General Burchett.

“Secretary Tsang, Deputy Commissioner Li, Ministers Lebel, Fast and Oliver, Senator Enverga, Members of Parliament Obhrai, Grewal, Gill, Seeback and Shory, distinguished guests, honoured veterans and their families, including the family of Lieutenant-Commander William Lore.

“Lore is just one of the many stories that could be told here today.

“Lore was the first Canadian of Chinese extraction to join the Royal Canadian Navy.

“He recently died at the age of 103.

“However, it is especially appropriate that we should remember his service to Canada today, here at the Sai Wan Bay Cemetery.

“In August 1945, then Sub-Lieutenant, Lore was part of the force that relieved Hong Kong after the Japanese surrender and led a platoon of marines to free Canadian, British and Hong Kong prisoners of war from the notorious Sham Shui Po detention camp.

“And so concluded the story I recited here on my last visit three years ago, of the courageous, desperate and bloody defence of Hong Kong, in which badly outnumbered Canadians gave their lives.

“Here they are laid, nearly three hundred of them.

“Today, at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, at memorials in communities large and small, in Canadian Armed Forces establishments everywhere, across our great land, and around the world, it is November 11.
“On this day, in such places of quiet rest for the fallen, and beside monuments to their sacrifice, we gather in the old Act of Remembrance.

“We recite the old words, speak sometimes of old friends or forebears who, to our lasting benefit and their everlasting glory, served our country to the full.

“We call with reasonable hope upon the Ancient of Days that He will deal mercifully with their eternal souls.

“Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

“It is a simple truth.

“For indeed, they shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.
 “Yet it is also a prayer that we may answer.

“For it lies within each one of us to remember the dead as they once were.

“Canadians from across our great land, born of it or brought to it, young and bold, drawn together by their willingness to serve their fellow citizens.

“So it has been for 200 years.

“And, as long as we faithfully tell their story to our children and praise their great deeds, the years - even great passages of time - will not condemn them.

“But more than that, it lies within us to do this:

“We can walk worthy of the lives that they laid down for us.

“By their deaths, they made possible the freedom we enjoy, the democracy by which we govern ourselves and the justice under which we live.

“These are the flowers that flourish upon their graves.

“The Act of Remembrance that we perform today here, and wherever Canadians in uniform serve their country, must therefore be something beyond a solemn reminder of dear ones lost.

“It must call all Canadians to look beyond our sorrow.

“It asks us to honour in our lives, at all times, what our forebears won by their deaths and to protect and preserve the peace they left us.

“There is no more that we can do for them than this.

“And there is nothing less that we should attempt.

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them. ”