A Solemn Remembrance: Honouring the Red River Métis and All Canadians Who Served

June 6, 2023

Today, as we reflect on the significance of D-Day and the entirety of World War II, I write as the President of the Métis Nation to express a deep sense of gratitude and remembrance for those who served in one of the most challenging conflicts in human history.

The courage and sacrifice of our servicemen and women are forever imprinted on the collective memory of our nation, and it is a debt that can never be fully repaid. We remember the bravery of over 14,000 Canadians who stormed Juno Beach on June 6, 1944, and we honor their determination that led them deeper into France than any other allied forces.

We, as Métis people, hold a unique perspective in this remembrance. Our kin, among the other Indigenous peoples of Canada, volunteered in significant numbers. The records may not always reflect their ethnicity as Métis, but we know they were there. They served in every theatre of the war, and in every branch of the Canadian military. And so, while we look back on the D-Day landings and the wider conflict, we remember them, the Métis servicemen and women, for their courage, for their service, and for their sacrifice.

Our Métis veterans brought their unique skills to the conflict. They brought an understanding of difficult terrains, a deep connection with their comrades, and a fierce spirit borne of our tradition of military service. They stood up when it mattered most, alongside their fellow Canadians, to protect the freedoms we enjoy today.

In their service and sacrifice, however, there was sorrow and loss. Many did not return home, and those who did faced challenges and inequities. They endured, and they persevered. Today, we remember them with heavy hearts, a testament to their immeasurable sacrifices.

As we look around us, enjoying the freedoms and liberties that their sacrifices secured, we must commit never to forget. The gift of liberty is sacred, hard-won by the blood, sweat, and tears of those who believed in a better world. It is a gift that we must cherish, uphold, and pass on to our children, a constant reminder of the price of freedom.

In honouring them, we must remember not only their service but also the principles for which they fought: liberty, justice, and the pursuit of peace. These ideals are the cornerstones of our society, the ties that bind us together, and the guiding lights of our collective journey.

In the spirit of those who served, I encourage every Métis and indeed every Canadian to take a moment today to reflect and give thanks. Reach out to your community, learn the stories of those who served, and keep their memory alive. It is in this act of collective remembrance that we can truly honour their sacrifice.

Today, as the waves gently lap against the shores of Juno Beach and across the coasts of our great country, we listen for the echoes of the past. We hear the whispers of those who gave their lives, those who fought for a world free from the shackles of oppression. They remind us that the flame of freedom, once lit, must never be extinguished.

And so, let us remember. Let us be thankful. Let us hold dear the freedoms we enjoy, for they were paid for at the highest cost. As we look to the future, let our gratitude and our memories guide us. For the lessons of the past illuminate the path forward, a path towards peace, understanding, and reconciliation.

In memory of our fallen, and in honor of all who served, we will remember. Lest we forget.


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