The Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O.M.
Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba
Sunday, May 5, 2019 – 10:30 a.m.
Special and distinguished guests, members and friends of the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadians united in memory – welcome to this commemoration of the Second World War’s longest battle.
We are gathered on Treaty One land, on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe and the homeland of the Metis people.
Today we have come together to make good on a promise to refresh our memories of the sacrifices made by those who braved the cold, dark waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the cause of freedom.
Seventy four years ago, nearly six years of fighting on the Atlantic – from the Arctic to seas off South America and from the coastal waters of Europe to the Gulf of St. Lawrence – came to an end.
The Battle of the Atlantic was the longest of the Second World War and one where Canada distinguished itself by guarding the convoys that kept Great Britain alive in the darkest times.
It was a costly battle, with more than 2,000 members of the Royal Canadian Navy, 1,600 Canadian merchant seaman and 750 Royal Canadian Air Force personnel lost in those long years of uncertainty, hardship and sudden terror.
Each year, in November, we wear poppies and hear recitations of In Flanders Fields. We are reminded that remembrance is a sacred duty for those who have benefited from the sacrifices of others.
We repeat the promise that “at the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”
Today, those of us who have lived in a more peaceful and prosperous world also give thanks to the service of later generations of men and women who have served in the Royal Canadian Navy.
These men and women have protected Canada’s interests and values on our coasts and around the world and have, through their service, helped to prevent much worse conflicts.
For those of us who have not served in uniform, our debt of gratitude can never be fully paid. But by remembrance and by committing to use our own gifts and talents for the good of Canada, we can show that we value the sacrifice and the dedication demonstrated 75 years ago and ever since by Canada’s Navy.
Thank you. Merci. Meegwich.