ARCHIVED - The Government of Canada remembers September 11th

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Anniversary designated as a National Day of Service

September 11, 2011 - Representatives of the Government of Canada today marked the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in the United States of America on September 11th, 2001, notably in Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador and in Ottawa.

In Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, and the Honourable Peter Penashue, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, gathered at a memorial ceremony and reception to remember the victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks. They were joined by citizens of Gander, local and international dignitaries, and special guests including passengers from the United States who were diverted to Gander on September 11, 2001.

In the aftermath of these terrorist attacks, 238 international flights were diverted to Canadian airports, 38 of which were diverted to Gander International Airport. The town of 10,000 people sheltered over 6,500 stranded passengers in the days that followed.

“On this, the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, we take a moment to honour those innocent lives that were lost in these attacks and other acts of terrorism. We remain committed to honouring their lives as we remain committed to moving forward together to fight terrorism in every corner of the globe,” said Minister Toews. “While we can't forget the horrific acts committed that day, I hope people also remember the many acts of kindness and generosity that followed here in Gander, and across the country.”

“The citizens of Gander, along with communities all across Canada, opened their homes and their hearts to rerouted air travelers, many of whom were shaken by anxiety and grief,” said Minister Penashue. “The comfort and hospitality offered by the people of Gander to the strangers suddenly in their midst exemplifies the spirit of friendship and solidarity we feel with our neighbours, as a government and as people. All Canadians can take pride in the actions of those communities during those difficult days following September 11th, 2001.”

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird attended Canada's Concert of Hope and Remembrance, a free concert by the NAC Orchestra in Ottawa, in memory of the victims of the 9/11 attacks. Peter Oundjian, Music Director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted the NAC Orchestra and a chorus made up of choirs from across the National Capital Region.

”The terror attacks of 9/11 took the lives of 24 Canadians and claimed victims from more than 90 countries. Today we remember those lost and stand in solemn solidarity with their loved ones,” said Minister Baird. “We are also well aware that the terrorist threat is still very real so we must continue to work with our international partners to combat terror in all its forms.”

The Honourable Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence, joined Canadian firefighters on Parliament Hill for the annual commemoration of the sacrifices of their lost comrades held by the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation. While the focus of the event was on the loss of Canadian firefighters, the sacrifices made by firefighters following the 9/11 attacks were also acknowledged.

The Honourable Gordon O'Connor, Minister of State and Chief Government Whip attended a 9/11 memorial at Ottawa's Beechwood National Cemetery. The ceremony included a reading of the names of the Canadian victims of 9/11, a minute of silence, and a wreath-laying.

In recognition of the spirit of solidarity that was demonstrated following the attacks, Prime Minister Stephen Harper declared September 11th as a National Day of Service. The National Day of Service will be a day to honour generous acts of humanity, service and courage and to honour the sacrifices made by victims of terrorism and their families.

Minister Toews acknowledged this announcement during his visit to Newfoundland and Labrador. “I'm honoured to be in the presence of the people of Gander, who demonstrated the very purpose behind the National Day of Service. I hope all Canadians will participate in charitable activities, fundraisers and community service for worthy causes across the country every year on September 11th to honour the sacrifices made by those who served in the rescue efforts,” said Minister Toews.

See also:

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Public Safety Canada

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