OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 07/01/12 -- The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement for Canada Day:
"To family, friends and neighbours all over the country, I extend warm wishes on Canada day. As we gather together in pride in communities nation-wide to celebrate the history and heritage of our great nation on our country's 145th birthday, we must remember to give thanks for all the gifts and blessings we enjoy.
I would especially like to thank and pay tribute to the members of the Canadian Forces, Department of National Defence employees and to their families. I'm proud to work alongside members of the Defence Team - military and civilian alike - and am humbled to represent the hard working men and women whose dedication, professionalism, courage and commitment make our country a beacon of hope to people around the world.
As we celebrate our country's anniversary, we also mark an important milestone that helped shape Canada: The Bicentennial of the War of 1812. This event changed the course of our country militarily, politically, and culturally, and literally established our path towards our independent and free country. The heroic efforts of those early Canadian soldiers and sailors who engaged in the War tell the story of the Canada we know today.
Those efforts continue to be reflected by our modern Canadian Forces, who, while serving both at home and abroad, continue to display for all that we are a gifted and generous nation. Our men and women in uniform set a standard for the world by protecting and upholding the fundamental values that we as Canadians hold dear: respect for freedom, democracy and human rights.
Today, as we celebrate our country, be proud and grateful for all those who serve Canada, and who are so often apart from their loved ones as they work to protect and defend this great land that we call home.
I wish all Canadians, from my family to yours a safe, healthy and happy Canada Day!"