Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks during the Highway of Heroes Tree Campaign
Good morning everyone. Before we begin, I want to especially thank Corporal Nick Kerr and Minister MacAulay for being here today, and of course thank you all for joining us.
As some of you may know, I had the honour of travelling to Europe to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Normandy. It was an incredibly moving few days and a chance for Canada to not only remember the sacrifices of our veterans, but also to reflect on their proud legacy. On the battlefields of Europe, francophones, anglophones, indigenous peoples, new Canadians, all came together as one. And they have since inspired countless young people to answer the call of duty like they once did.
A thing that struck me on my trip was how the ceremonies had become intergenerational events: members of the armed forces helping veterans walk along Juno Beach, and young people expressing their gratitude and sharing their family histories.
These testimonies brought into sharp focus how one’s decision to serve can have a lasting positive impact on so any others. It was a beautiful sight; a tribute worthy of those who gave so much for us. But recognizing the courage of our servicemen and women; remembering the sacrifices they made and the values for which they fought shouldn’t be something we do just when a big milestone comes around. In fact, I think it’s really important that as Canadians, we create more opportunities – both big and small – to say thank you.
The Highway of Heroes is a beautiful way to do just that. And that’s why our government is so proud to support this initiative. With our latest budget we committed an additional $2.9 million in funding through Veterans Affairs, to see this project through.
The Highway of Heroes is a chance for all of us to express our gratitude and celebrate the many contributions of service members, both at home and abroad. But the desire to help the most vulnerable, to better our world and heal its woes does not stop once they return to Canada or retire. Many of them never stopped answering the call to serve, no matter where they are or what they do.
Take Corporal Nick Kerr of the Canadian Armed Forces, for example. In addition to serving in Afghanistan and being a primary reserve member with the Canadian Scottish Regiment, Corporal Kerr volunteers with so many organizations to support his fellow service members. He helps them transition out of the military. He helps them find a job or learn a new skill, or access services available to them.
But Corporal Kerr also works incredibly hard to make sure that those who never returned home are forever remembered. In November 2016, he organized an event to remember a former colleague who took her own life while serving in Afghanistan. He also adopted a section of the Highway of Heroes with some friends, and he continues to play an active role in the Highway of Heroes Living Tribute. Corporal Nick, thank you. You are an inspiration to us all.
A tree for every Hero. I cannot think of a better way to remember the spirit and the selfless service of our men and women in uniform. With every tree we will remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice and think of our brave service members who continue to represent Canada with unparalleled integrity, valour and perseverance. And as we remember them, we remember also their families, who in so many ways sacrifice along with them, their communities that support them, extraordinary organizations like the one we’re celebrating here today, who continue to step up. And mostly, we continue to thank those who continuously step up and look to serve their country in ever-greater ways.
Thank you friends for being here with me today.
Thank you all for being here today. It’s a beautiful day for Canada.