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What is the significance of Canadian Armed Forces Day?

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Canadian Armed Forces Day is observed each year on the first Sunday in June as the result of a private member's motion passed in the House of Commons of Canada on 25 April 2002. The motion read: "That, in the opinion of this House, the government should, on an annual basis, proclaim the first Sunday in June "Canadian Forces Day" in recognition of the tremendous contribution by the Canadian Forces, both at home and abroad, in such areas as the defence of Canada, our NATO commitments, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, search and rescue and peacekeeping." On 31 May of that year, then prime minister Jean Chrétien issued a statement that henceforth, the first Sunday in June of each year would be recognized as Canadian Forces Day and that "Canadians wish to express their infinite gratitude to the members of our Canadian Forces, as well as admiration toward their families for the sacrifices they make every day." Although the terms Canadian Forces and Canadian Armed Forces have been interchangeable since Canada's military (navy, army and air force) were unified into one common force in 1968, the Government of Canada has been using the term Canadian Armed Forces consistently since May 2013. Hence, the day of observance is now known as Canadian Armed Force Day. Shown in the photograph are soldiers of 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group being recognized in a Freedom of the City parade at the Town of Petawawa, Ontario on Canada Day 2005 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Canadian Forces Base Petawawa.

On this day, 5 June 2022, we celebrate the 21st annual Canadian Armed Forces Day and honour the more than 90,000 Canadians serving in the Canadian Armed Forces at home and abroad.

André M. Levesque

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