‘Hope and help in the face of tribulation and terror’

The speaking notes for John Baird’s remarks at the National Arts Centre memorial ceremony this morning.

Ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests, friends and colleagues: Those beautiful notes we just heard hang heavy with memories of that terrible morning 10 years ago.

On this solemn anniversary we remember and honour all those who lost their lives or a loved one. Nearly 3,000 people died that day – including 24 Canadians – in senseless acts of terror. Many left behind still grieve for the loved ones taken from them. Today, we stand with them in solemn solidarity. Sadly, the terrorist threat is still with us. Still very real.

En cet anniversaire solennel, nous honorons la mémoire de tous ceux qui ont perdu la vie ou un être cher. Près de 3 000 personnes sont mortes ce jour-là – y compris 24 Canadiens – dans des actes insensés de terreur. Beaucoup pleurent toujours la perte d’un être cher. Aujourd’hui, nous leur exprimons notre solidarité solennelle. Malheureusement, la menace terroriste est toujours bien réelle.

We have had recent reminders in Pakistan and India,  Norway, London, and in countless other places. Terrorism is a global phenomenon. But there are hopeful signs. Canada and our international partners are working together like never before to counter violent extremism.

Le Canada et ses partenaires internationaux travaillent ensemble comme jamais pour combattre l’extrémisme violent.  We stand together – as Canadians and as members of the global community – in working to eradicate terror in all its forms.

On this day especially, we unite to say we will act as one, and we will continue to protect and promote the values and principles that terrorists seek to undermine – namely, freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Ten years ago, the world witnessed senseless acts of terrorism. But in the wake of the 9/11 attacks,  we also witnessed the close relationship between Canada and the United States in new light. When terror hit home next door, Canadians opened their hearts to those affected. Lorsque la terreur a frappé près de chez nous, les Canadiens ont ouvert leur cœur aux personnes touchées.

In some cases, people prepared food for stranded travellers or welcomed strangers into their homes. Others set up shelters in schools and churches. Local businesses donated all basic necessities. True friends are there when they are needed most – in our darkest hours. These simple yet significant gestures exemplified the close relationship we enjoy with our American friends. And, proved again, that when one needs the other, we are there without asking.

They are also 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.

La Journée nationale du service sera une journée où nous honorerons les actes de bravoures, de courage et de services, ainsi que les sacrifices faits par les victimes d’actes terroristes et leur famille. Ce sera une journée où des gens vont s’entraider et  où des voisins vont se retrouver en communauté.

Hope – and help – in the face of tribulation and terror. In many ways, that is precisely what is being celebrated here today  as well. And it has been a real pleasure to have shared this special time with each of you. Thank you. Merci.

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