ARCHIVED - A Memorial Ceremony to Commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

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Speaking Notes for the
Honourable John Baird
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario
September 11, 2011

Check against delivery

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for coming here today to share in this memorial ceremony – the centrepiece of which has been a wonderful and moving performance by the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Christ Church Cathedral's Choir of Men and Boys.

The theme of hope and remembrance is certainly one all of us can relate to on this solemn occasion as we join with people from around the world to remember and honour nearly 3,000 innocent victims – including 24 Canadians - who lost their lives in a senseless act of terrorism ten years ago.

Today we also recall with heavy hearts the senseless acts of terrorism that have killed thousands of men, women, and children throughout the world – as recently seen in Oslo, as well as in the United States, Morocco, London, Pakistan, Bali, Madrid, Mumbai, Kampala and in countless other places.

We won't forget the wounds that have been inflicted by terrorism and our sympathies are with victims around the world.

On this day, people from many different countries have and will come together in ceremonies such as this one to remember those who have lost their lives to acts of terrorism and to share in the grief of their families, friends and loved ones.

Terrorism is a global phenomenon – not something that just impacts a handful of Western democracies. Terrorists kill people from all walks of life, including those whose interests they claim to represent. They do so indiscriminately all over the world.

The 9/11 attacks in 2001 killed people from more than 90 countries and various faiths including Muslims.

We remain committed to honouring their lives as we remain committed to moving forward together to fight terrorism in every corner of the globe.

Every day in our communities we see evidence of unity – people of all faiths, races and culture working towards common goals, including that of fostering a safer and more resilient society. We stand together as Canadians – and we stand together with our friends and allies around the world to say that on this day especially we are not afraid, we will act as one, and we will continue to strengthen, cherish and honour the very principles that terrorists seek to undermine – the principles of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Ten years ago, Canadians - and indeed people from around the world – witnessed senseless acts of terrorism. But in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center, all of us also witnessed great acts of kindness and generosity.

The many acts of generosity demonstrated by Canadians from coast to coast to coast on September 11, 2001 and afterwards will never be forgotten – nor will the assistance provided by communities, provincial governments, the private sector, social services and voluntary agencies.

In Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador people prepared food. They set up shelters in schools and churches. Local businesses donated all the basic necessities. People even gave boat and hiking tours to distract the stranded travellers. And many residents welcomed strangers into their homes and made them feel like family.

These simple and significant actions exemplify the messages at the heart of a National Day of Service, which on Friday our government announced will be marked each year on September eleventh.  

The National Day of Service will be a day to honour generous acts of humanity, courage and service, as well as the sacrifices made by victims of terrorism and their families.

It will be about people helping people, and neighbours getting together as a community.

By participating in selfless acts of community service every year on September eleventh, Canadians from coast to coast to coast will be able to pay tribute to the Canadians and others who were lost in 9/11 and to honour those who stood fast in the crisis.

They will honour courage and sacrifice. And they will come together to prove that our community spirit of generosity and resilience in the face of terror is strong.

Thank you, and thank you once again for coming here today.

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