No issue is more important, no cause more noble, than the act of remembrance itself. No politician, myself included, no stakeholder, no individual has a monopoly on Armistice Day. Nor can any of us stake a claim to shift the focus of Armistice Day in our favour, for doing so undermines the remembrance we should be directing to the fallen.
In placing a wreath on the National War Memorial on November 11th, I do so not on my own behalf. I do so on behalf of all Canadian Veterans, as the representative of Canada's Government and the department of Veterans Affairs. That is who I represent at that time on that day.
We all share a responsibility to remember the fallen. How we do so is entirely up to us. Whether illustrated by the individual on the street who pauses while others do not. Or by the Canadian Armed Forces member who reminds his fellow soldiers to pause while standing in danger in Afghanistan. Or by a Member of Parliament, or indeed a Veterans advocate, who puts down their pen to stand shoulder to shoulder with others in remembrance of the fallen. One act of remembrance leads to another, as the individual who pauses on the street will surely be joined by someone else. Our collective goal on Armistice Day should be to encourage remembrance in others and no better way to accomplish this noble goal than through leading by example.
Remembrance Day has but one purpose. And I intend to stand shoulder to shoulder with anyone who feels the same. I hope you will join me.
Lest we forget.
The Honourable Julian Fantino PC, MP
Minister of Veterans Affairs
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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.