NOTES FOR REMARKS: DEBATE IN THE SENATE ON THE CANADIAN NATIONAL VIMY MEMORIAL
Honourable senators, I will be brief and add to the story of Vimy Ridge for a moment. In 1987, I covered another anniversary at Vimy Ridge as a reporter, and I would say that meeting the veterans who were still very much alive at the time was one of the most moving moments of my life as a Canadian journalist overseas. I have covered many stories — the massacre in Tiananmen Square, the Gulf War, the Iran-Iraq war, the troubles in Belfast, terrible times in Beirut — but that particular moment in Vimy with the veterans, interviewing them and spending the whole day and evening with them, is a moment in my life I will never forget.
When I think of this, I get emotional like the honourable senator. I lost my uncle, for whom I am named, James Lloyd Munson, who was shot down by the Japanese in 1943 over Burma. His story always comes home to me and I always ensure that my sons come to the National Cenotaph wherever I am.
At this moment, I would like to salute Senator Atkins. His father, as most of us know, fought at Vimy. Senator Atkins has a diary that his father wrote, and I believe it is being given to the war museum. I think all Canadians should read this diary of Mr. Atkins, who was there, who writes in the diary in a matter of fact way of how they took Vimy that day. It was a very simple message and a beautiful diary.
At this time, because I do not think we will have another opportunity, I would like to acknowledge the veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and any place where Canadian soldiers are participating. It is always a good thing.