Despite the early hour, soldiers, veterans, and military families packed onto the Peace Bridge on June 17 for a breakfast to remember. As the sun was rising over the city, the guests and guests of honour were treated to a delicious meal, speeches, live music, and unequaled military pageantry.
“It is a bit of a unique event – to sit on the Bow at five in the morning and watch the sun rise,” said George Brookman, event Co-Chair. “It really is a neat thing to do.”
At 5:00 a.m., the crowd was welcomed to the occasion by George Brookman.Then the King’s Own Calgary Regiment Band played our national anthem while the flag was raised. Following O Canada was a First Nations Blessing, the Loyal Toast and the Toast to the Fallen and a performance by Juno Award nominee, Don Amero.
Canada’s Minister of Defence, Harjit Sajjan, was the keynote speaker this year. He took to the stage to discuss the country’s role in the world during the 150th anniversary of its founding, and the importance of Canada’s military members and their families.
“The member doesn’t just serve but the family serves alongside them.”
“It’s making sure that they have the right support because what they go through is very unique and very different from other Canadian families,” said Sajjan.
The minister then spoke about the importance of Military Family Resource Centres across Canada, and the role they play in supporting military members and families.
“My wife and daughter got to benefit from them as well. It’s such a fitting event. It gives our troops the confidence that Canadians have their backs.”
The minister also spoke on a new tax exemption for Canadian troops serving internationally and a retroactive pay raise for all members up to the lieutenant-colonel level.
“Whether it’s a member who just joined and doesn’t have a family, or a member who has a family or is close to retirement, from the tax exemption, the money that they now will be able to keep, each family will decide how best they want to utilize it.”
Following the speech, the Calgary MFRC Chair, Col. (ret.) Charles Hamel presented Minister Sajjan with a photograph of the Peace Bridge taken by Calgary photographer, Neil Zeller. Minister Sajjan was also presented with a white cowboy hat to represent his time in Calgary.
It is hoped this event, which will begin at 5 a.m. will raise about $170,000 for the centre. This includes income from our generous sponsors: Global Calgary, TD, Telus and Cenovus Energy; income from ticket sales and proceeds from a cause marketing campaign run by Telus.
Most of these funds will go towards helping veterans and their families who are coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) related issues.
You can watch a video of the event, by clicking this link.