Remarks marking the start of Veterans’ Week
On February 18, 1943, Squadron Leader Alfred Brenner of Toronto, was flying off the coast of the Netherlands when he and his crew spotted an enemy convoy consisting of five destroyers.
Rather than peeling away and calling for reinforcements, Squadron Leader Brenner attacked low over the waves, dropping a torpedo that successfully hit a 5,000-ton enemy vessel.
Facing heavy fire, their plane was shot down, but not before they sent an SOS.
Alone in dangerous waters, with a life raft and few resources, Alfred and his crew sent another call for rescue by sending a messenger pigeon that they had taken from their aircraft.
After 2 long days at sea, Allied Forces picked them up in a daring rescue mission.
For his bravery, Squadron Leader Brenner received Britain’s Distinguished Flying Cross.
In the face of danger, Alfred and his crew chose to be brave.
They chose to put their own lives on the line for the greater good.
It’s no wonder his citation reads, “this officer has displayed the greatest keenness and devotion to duty.”
As we begin this Veterans’ Week, we remember heroes, like Squadron Leader Brenner, whose actions reflect the courage of so many women and men in uniform.
We honour all those who risked their lives for our freedom—including the 8 brave members of the Canadian Armed Forces who lost their lives in the line of duty this year.
We honour their memory and will never forget them.
Mr. Speaker, on this 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, we recognize how lucky we are to live in a country like ours, thanks to the sacrifice, service, and persistence of those who lived through that terrible war.
They endured the loss of brothers, sisters, and friends, but despite everything, they found hope and compassion in one another.
Over the decades, they have continued to pave the way to build a better world and to serve the common good.
And it was this same sense of duty and sacrifice that also led our armed forces to take part in a number of peacekeeping missions, notably in Korea and Afghanistan.
Our women and men in uniform are always ready to help others when we need them.
Recently, they selflessly protected and helped our most vulnerable citizens—our seniors—by working in long-term care facilities.
Mr. Speaker, their actions and dedication to Canadian values reflect the very best of us.
Our veterans served Canada with honour and valour, right across this country and all around the world.
They stepped up for us, and now it’s time for us to do the same for them.
We don’t need to wonder how we will rise to the moment because we need only look around Canada to see the answer.
We see it in young people getting groceries for older veterans to keep them safe.
We see it in frontline workers who, after hours of standing on tired feet, never give up as they care for our parents and grandparents—the last members of the Greatest Generation.
We’ve seen it in the crew of the HMCS Fredericton and the members of the Snowbirds—brave women and men who, even after tragedy, continued to show us what service and sacrifice means.
During this Veterans’ Week, let us remember those who served with honour and courage.
Let us be inspired by the ideals they held dear.
And let us all join together to help build a better world with them.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.