“On September 11th, 2001, a group of terrorists targeting New York and the heart of the U.S. Government silenced the futures of nearly 3,000 innocent citizens from the United States and around the world – including 24 Canadians.
“To the people who mourn their loss most profoundly, the friends and families of the victims, Laureen and I offer our respect, our condolences and hope that you find comfort in the fact that Canadians remember that awful day and grieve with you.
“A key lesson of 9/11 is to remain vigilant against terror groups and regimes that seek to establish safe havens such as the one which existed in Afghanistan prior to 2001, where the 9/11 perpetrators were allowed to thrive.
“While 9/11 will forever be remembered for the senseless nature of the attacks, it is important to recall that in the midst of terror and destruction, there was also enormous compassion, giving, bravery, and generosity to eclipse that darkness.
“There were waves of first responders who selflessly risked their lives in the aftermath of the attacks. There was the service of volunteers – military and civilian alike – and the generosity of many more who lent a hand as Good Samaritans. Canadians in Gander, Newfoundland, and a number of other communities hosted several thousand diverted air passengers, treating these stranded people like family and friends, inviting them into their community and into their homes.
“It is in honour and celebration of these acts of kindness that Canada designated September 11th as our National Day of Service in 2011, a day in which charitable deeds, fundraisers and community service can act as an antithesis to the inhumane acts committed 13 years ago.
“Canadians continue to step up in times of catastrophe and hardship – whether the front lines happen to be in their community, in this country, or somewhere else in the world – to contribute their time, energy and personal resources to improve the lives of those less fortunate. It is a cherished value that is at the very heart of what it means to be Canadian, a value that shows no signs of abating regardless of the challenge.”