They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn;
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
To the men, women, and service animals that have dedicated their lives to defending this country, our rights, and our freedoms – thank you. Your action and bravery has affected so much, from the guiding principles that govern this country and what we stand for (defending what we value) to the practicalities of daily life. Through your dedication as peacekeepers and protectors, you have created a land of opportunity for so many people, the majority of whom you have not met, and for that selflessness you have my eternal gratitude. It is your service and your sacrifice that allows me to call this wonderful country home, enjoying freedoms that people everywhere dream of, and also giving me the ability to live a life full of potential and possibility. Life can be challenging and cruel but through your efforts you have shielded me from the realities of war and that is a debt that is difficult, if not impossible, to repay.
I speak not in platitudes but with genuine admiration and appreciation. Through my husband’s side we have had the privilege of calling two servicemen, both of whom participated in the Second World War, our family – his grandfather who enlisted with the RAF and his great uncle who fought on behalf of Canada with the Perth Regiment. We are proud of them and we are proud of you. While I will never pretend to know your experience, I know that your experience is only known to those who have had it; it is truly a large burden to carry.
But war is not only something relegated to the past, it is, in fact, the reality of many people today including you and your families, your friends, your loved ones. And in spite of the risks, there you remain, constantly defending us. So here I am adding my voice to the chorus of so many people before me, thank you.