On the Road: Spring Blossoms in Ottawa
On Friday, March 16th, Greg Anthony was in our nation’s capital to participate in a ceremony marking Turkey’s Martyr’s Memorial Day and to accept a $10,000 donation from the Peace and Social Justice Foundation. On the flight back to Toronto, he reflects on the occasion.
It’s nearly springtime in Ottawa: the ice has melted on the canal, the buds are preparing to blossom in Major’s Hill Park and crowds of people are beginning to once again venture out for a stroll through the Market. At this time of the year, our thoughts here at Canadian Hero Fund turn to all the outstanding things we have envisioned for the coming months—new relationships to forge, new horizons to explore. These values came together wonderfully during my most recent trip to our capital city.
I flew to Ottawa on Friday morning to attend a ceremony commemorating Martyrs’ Memorial Day in Turkey, which marks the 1915 Battle of March 18th in the Dardanelles Campaign and generally commemorates all the Turkish men and women who lost their lives in service to their nation. The event was held at the brand new River Building at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. The day’s significance was made particularly poignant after it was announced that a Turkish helicopter had crashed in Kabul only hours earlier, killing 12 Turkish soldiers and two Afghan civilians. We stood for a moment of silence.
After speeches from university officials and the Turkish Ambassador to Canada, Hikmet Çetin took the stage to give a presentation about the future of Afghanistan. Çetin is one of Turkey’s most accomplished politicians, serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Prime Minister, Speaker of the Turkish Grand Natinal Assembly and, most recently, as NATO’s Senior Civilian Representative in Afghanistan. It was incredible to listen and learn from someone with such extraordinary knowledge and insight about one of the most pressing matters of our time. It reminded me of the reason I first joined Hero Fund and why I continue to feel so passionately about education.
Following the presentation, Mrs. Sema Donna Kenan, President of the Peace and Social Justice Foundation, a group founded by Turkish Canadians, took the stage. She gave a beautiful speech and I was called forward to accept, on behalf of Canadian Hero Fund, a generous donation of $10,000 that will go specifically towards the education of the children of Canadian soldiers who lost their lives during active duty in Afghanistan. I had a chance to meet a few of the members of the Foundation and I can say with certainly that I hope this is the beginning of a close relationship between our organizations.
At the reception I had the pleasure of speaking at length with Vice-Admiral Bruce Donaldson and Lieutenant-General Stuart Beare. It’s immediately clear from the moment you first meet these men that they represent the best that Canada has to offer and it was honour to hear how much they appreciate the work we do here at Hero Fund.
The next day, as I sat in the airport awaiting my flight back to Toronto, I thought about how the events of yesterday reflected this time of the year: the remembrance of the past, of the dark moments we have all experienced; the present, a time of transition and new beginnings; and finally, to a vision of the future, a time of renewed hope and limitless potential. I hope you’ll join me and the rest of the Hero Fund team and as we continue to look to the future and strive to make a difference in the lives of Canadians.
A special thank you to everyone who made my trip to Ottawa such an extraordinary experience—I am truly grateful.