Today we remember those brave men and women who have made the supreme sacrifice in defending our rights, our freedoms and our country.
Although Remembrance Day is observed to recall the end of the First World War in 1918 – when major hostilities were formally ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month with the German signing of the Armistice Agreement – it is also held to remember those who fought in the Second World War, Korean Conflict, Afghanistan and other conflicts around the world.
November 11 is the day we remember all Canadians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, who served our country. For Inuit and other indigenous peoples in Canada, November 8 is recognized as Aboriginal Veterans Day.
Indigenous people were exempt from conscription during the First and Second World Wars. They were not considered citizens of Canada and they did not have the right to vote.
However, some 4,000 Indigenous men, including Labrador Inuit, enlisted in the First World War and over 300 died. Another 20,000 volunteered for service in the Second World War and over 200 died. There are many others who served in conflicts since, and many more who continue to serve today.
As Labrador Inuit we should be proud of these brave men and women who helped shape this great country we live in – proud of the sacrifices they made, and proud of the legacy they have left behind.
To mark this day, I encourage all Beneficiaries, no matter where you live, to observe a minute of silence, beginning at 11 a.m. to honor those who sacrificed their lives so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have today.