‘We must remain vigilant’

by Aaron Wherry

The text of Stephen Harper’s speech in New York City today.

Thank you, Mr. Johnston. Merci beaucoup. Thank you to everybody. Greetings to Consul General Prado, to Consul Generals Lopez and Scanlon, to Senator Wallin, to Commissioner Castro, to Mr. Stewart, to of course so many members of our protective services, and of course families and friends of those whose memory is honoured here today.

À titre de Premier ministre du Canada, j’ai l’honneur d’accepter l’offre de tenir en ce cadre enchanteur une cérémonie commémorative officielle pour les Canadiens et Canadiennes qui ont cruellement perdu la vie il y a dix ans aujourd’hui.

As Prime Minister of Canada, it is my honour to accept the offer to include in this beautiful place an official commemoration of the Canadians whose lives were taken so cruelly ten years ago today. On behalf of the people of Canada, I thank her Majesty, the Queen, and I thank Mr. Stewart, Mr. Johnson and the officers and directors of the trust for this gracious gesture. We warmly welcome the decision to also include here other Commonwealth countries, and we support wholeheartedly the plan to rename this garden the Queen Elizabeth the Second Garden to reflect this decision. It is fitting that the Canadians who perished on 9/11 should be remembered here, alongside the Britons, Australians and other Commonwealth citizens who were also killed in that atrocity.

Lors des conflits mondiaux du siècle dernier, nos pays se sont érigés tous ensembles en tant que défenseurs de la liberté. Le 11 septembre 2001, nous avons été attaqués tous ensembles par des ennemis de la liberté.

In the global conflicts of the past century, our countries have been champions of freedom together. On September the 11th , 2001, together we were attacked by the enemies of freedom. Their primary targets that day were our American cousins, but as we have seen in London, Bali, Madrid, Mumbai, and let us not forget Toronto, where the plotters were thwarted, we are, all of us, in their sights. All of us, but especially innocent civilians. And it is the innocent who we honour here today. To you who mourn their loss most profoundly, to their family and friends, I offer my respects and condolences and my hope that you find on this day at this place and in this ceremony some measure of comfort.

À votre initiative, nous sommes ravis d’avoir proclamé ce jour au Canada comme Journée nationale du service. Tout comme les Canadiens ont accueilli les voyageurs américains le jour de la tragédie, et tout comme nos deux pays évoquent encore ces actes de bonté, inspirons-nous de cet anniversaire solennel pour servir avec abnégation et pour faire le bien autour de nous.

At your initiative, we are pleased to have designated this day in Canada as a National Day of Service. Just as Canadians welcomed American travellers grounded on that terrible day, just as both countries remember still these simple acts of decency, let us take this solemn anniversary as an inspiration to serve selflessly to do good for those around us. In the shadow of the evil of September 11th , 2001, we must not forget our capacity for goodness, and our knowledge of what is right, which is written in the hearts of all men.

Yes, September 11th, 2001, lives were taken in an act of heartlessness beyond words. But in response, lives were given, freely, nobly, and acts of courage beyond compare. Brave Canadians in the company of other heroes among our friends and allies have made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan. They have helped ensure that that country is no longer a safe haven for those who plot to kill the innocent half a world away. Let us honour our fallen countrymen also in our reflections today. Let us offer our praise and thanks to their colleagues and to our law enforcement and intelligence personnel, and to the countless others who work each day to keep us safe. And let us renew our resolve that no more dates on the calendar should become symbols of the wounding of a nation.

Si nous voulons honorer les innocents, nous nous pouvons pas simplement nous contenter d’évoquer leur souvenir. Nous devons aussi rester vigilants afin de protéger ceux qu’ils ont quittés et de notre carré, les plans de ceux qui le voudraient tout mal.

For if we are to honour the innocent, we must not only remember them. We must remain vigilant to protect all those they left behind and to thwart all those who would do them harm. This unceasing effort is our government’s most solemn duty. Together with our friends and allies, we are committed to carrying out that duty in the hope of a more secure and peaceful world. Thank you all for being here today. Merci.




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‘We must remain vigilant’

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