Oh Canada – Vigilamus pro te

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Rick Hillier’s last day on the job

Today is Canada’s 141st birthday. Don’t we look good? Today, on this Canada Day, I am thinking even more than usual about our military. As everybody must know, we have troops in Afghanistan and in other hot spots. As we here in Canada celebrate our freedoms, be it with BBQ’s and fireworks, our men and women are serving our country, and facing dangers so that we don’t have to.

I am blessed to know a number of Canadian soldiers and veterans, and have made it a point to write about them and their mission quite a few times over on Tanker Bros milblog. At the end of last year, I named General Rick Hillier one of my Heroes of the Year, alongside US General David Petraeus. In case you missed that one you can read it here: [link http://mikegulf.blogspot.com/2007/12/my-heroes-of-year.html ]

Canadian soldier
CTVNews

I also wrote about General Hillier when he resigned as Chief of Defence Staff and you can read that here: [ link: http://mikegulf.blogspot.com/2008/04/canadas-soldiers-soldier-resigns.html

Today is General Hillier’s last day on the job as our Chief of Defence Staff. He is set to take over as the Chancellor of Memorial University in Newfoundland. He has served our military and our country well, and all Canadians owe him a great deal of gratitude for his service. I wish only great things for him and his family in the future.

General R.J. Hillier, C.M.M., M.S.C., C.D.
General R.J. Hillier, C.M.M., M.S.C., C.D

Chief of the Defence Staff,
Canadian Defence Department

Lt. General Walt Natynczyk is the man who takes over as Chief of Defence Staff. He is no slouch:

Lt.-Gen. Natynczyk has the experience; he is one of the few Canadian soldiers to have served in Iraq… as a colonel, Lt.-Gen. Natynczyk was given the job in 1999 as the chief Canadian Forces spokesman for the NATO-led air war in Kosovo…

… he also distinguished himself by serving as a deputy commander of the U.S. army’s III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas, part of a unique exchange program with the United States.

Gen. Hillier and Lt.-Gen. Natynczyk are among only three Canadian officers to take part in that exchange program…

Lt. Gen. Walt Natynczyk
Lt.Gen. Walt Natynczyk

In 2004, Lt.-Gen. Natynczyk was also deployed to Iraq for one year following the U.S.-led invasion… [link: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=447892]

Lt. Gen. Natynczyk has already served our country well, and I am sure he will continue to be an ardent advocate for our military in his new role.

So yes, there are changes today, but also one major constant. As we here at home celebrate our nation’s birthday, we would do well to be mindful of the men and women throughout our history who have stood on guard for us. Another constant, for me, is that I will always honour our troops who ensure we have a free country. I stand on guard – with gratitude, WITH all our troops.

HAPPY CANADA DAY!

Ros Prynn is a NewsBlaze investigative reporter and editor, who writes on a range of topics. Contact her by writing to NewsBlaze, or at her milblog assolutatranquillita.blogspot.com