How many times did Harper say the same thing in Holland

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Here is the speech taken off the PM’s website.

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Thanks to Minister Blackburn for that kind introduction and for his excellent work as Minister of Veterans’ Affairs.

I’d like to welcome also Prime Minister Ĵan Peter Balkenende, I understand you’re on the campaign trail, it is much appreciated that you would take the time to join us here today. Mayor (Han) Polman (Mayor of Bergen op Zoom) CDS General (Walter) Natynczyk. It’s also a pleasure to have British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell here with us, Minister Van Loan, ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests, students, and above all, distinguished veterans:

It is my profound honour on behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians to greet you today. To greet you here, at this place of solemn remembrance, where the intense sadness of a distant time is lifted by our deepest national pride. One does not measure the worth of a man in gold, nor the legacy of a country in centuries. Certainly, our beloved Canada is not ancient among the nations. However, by their actions, our forefathers have decided this for the generations that came after them:

They have decided that our priceless heritage should be one of standing on guard not only for our country, but for the underlying principles that make it great: freedom, democracy and justice. Thus it was at Vimy, more than 90 years ago, when Canadians stood firm against imperialism.

And thus it was in 1944, the year the First Canadian Army tore this land from the tyrant’s fist. This army, more than 175,000 Canadians reinforced by Dutch and allied forces, fought its way from Normandy to Rotterdam, field by field, canal by canal, dyke by daunting dyke. They crossed deep, boot-sucking mud. They passed over ground heavily mined. They navigated flooded lowlands, the water sometimes too high to wade through, but too shallow for boats. And around them, and before them always, the dreadful rattle of the machine gun.

More than seven and a half thousand Canadians gave their lives so that the people of the Netherlands could live again. Here, in the Bergen-op-Zoom war cemetery, 968 of them rest forever. A sceptic would ask why? These Canadians did not fight for their country’s gain. It was not for the sake of our power in the world, for the riches of our citizens, or even hatred of the foe they faced.

No, this army of Canadians fought then for the only thing their country fights to this day: That which is right. For the right of human beings to share in the freedom and peace that we as Canadians enjoy. For that alone, Canadians have answered the call. And for that, we are eternally proud.

Ladies and gentlemen, when the living comes to salute the dead, our words speak loudest to those whose lives still lay ahead of them. In this, the age-old act of remembrance, we gather not to call out a requiem for those for whom we speak it, are not here. Their gallant souls are long departed, gone from the site they last beheld not far from here – to a place far gentler of which it is said, “There shall be no more death, Neither sorrow, nor crying, Neither shall there be any more pain.” No, they shall rest in peace. We have come together to greet their comrades, while yet we may and to declare to new generations that, in such a place as this, you may understand how our land, Canada, gives birth to greatness. Would you know what heroism is? Look here. Would you know what it means to be a citizen? Look here. Would you, a lifetime awaiting you, know how you should live? Then look here, and look about you. Where only heroes rest. Where only those remain, who drank the full cup of a citizen’s duty.

Where, a lifetime ago, young men freely and of their own accord, relinquished the years they had been given, to free a people and to lift a curse. Yes, my friends, in a place such as this, surrounded by the graves of so many brave young souls, the past speaks wordlessly to the future. In the face of such deeds, words seem small acknowledgement.

Nevertheless, to those remaining members of this once-mighty army here with us today, we say thank you. We salute you. And, we honour you. You, and those of your comrades who lie around you here.

We also honour our Dutch hosts for their alliance with us in Afghanistan these past years, and for their eternal friendship.

The bonds of our friendship were forged under fire, bonds that have been reinforced ever since in so many ways.

Let me name just two.

First, our comradeship in arms in Afghanistan these past few years, where together our countries have continued to uphold our highest ideals.

And then, every spring in our nation’s capital, there is the eternal celebration, of our friendship, christened by the gift of your beautiful tulips.

They are a reminder that, during the war, it was our country’s privilege to offer shelter to members of the Dutch royal family.

And, at this very moment, they bloom triumphantly.

I’d like to close my remarks with a quote from a letter written by the editors of a Dutch weekly, a farewell to Canadians returning home after the war: “… our dear Queen, her child and grandchildren are safely in our midst again [.] That was your work. We can say again what we like to say… We have coal for our stoves and food for our children. That was your work.”

All of this was the work of those you see before you, and of those who you do not see, but who are with us nonetheless.

We owe the dead only this, to live today as nobly as they gave their lives.

We shall remember them.

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