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Vimy Oaks Ceremony

Good morning. It is an honour to be here on behalf of the Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Nice to see such a great turnout on a chilly Saturday morning!

This special project is a unique and fitting way to honour and remember Canada’s heroes—Veterans and their comrades—who made the ultimate sacrifice . . . your enthusiasm for it is an inspiration to us all.

Projects like the Vimy Oaks promote and preserve the memory of all those who have served Canada.

Individuals such as Monty McDonald, Ron Ayling, Dave Lemkay, Ed Lawrence, Tony DiGiovanni and Patricia Sinclair play a leadership role in keeping remembrance alive in our communities.

They are following in the footsteps of another resident of our community who was a leader in remembrance.

 

Leslie Miller served with the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the battle of Vimy Ridge, in France, on April 9, 1917.

Upon returning home, Miller had a vision of how he wanted to honour his comrades.

When most of us think about honouring the fallen, certainly monuments, cenotaphs and even buildings are the first things that come to mind.

But Leslie Miller wanted more than that . . . he wanted a living legacy . . . something that would resonate with the community . . . growing and evolving as the community grew and evolved. It was—and is—a generous gesture of humanity.

Remembrance, honour and respect take many forms . . . as I said . . . years ago we built monuments and cenotaphs.

But often Canadians want to demonstrate—in their own unique way—how they value Canada’s military and Veterans.

 

Canada’s troops forged this country’s identity generations ago . . . on distant battlefields in areas of conflict across the globe.

Today, communities like Scarborough and the citizens who live here, help ensure the Veterans in our community are honoured and recognized in ways that are meaningful and important to them.

By gathering up a handful of acorns following that pivotal battle at Vimy Ridge and bringing them home Leslie Miller linked the past to the present.

He linked those distant battlefields—and those who fought on them—with our growing and vibrant community and those who live here today.

By taking these cuttings from these nearly century-old living monuments, the Vimy Oaks Team is linking the present to the future . . . a future where our Veterans feel valued by Canada . . . feel valued by Canadians.

I look forward to seeing these oak saplings take root in Vimy, France. I look forward to seeing them grow and becoming living legacies to the fallen of Scarborough and the fallen of Canada.

On behalf of future generations of Canadians, I thank you.