World Impact in Winnipeg

Beneath the shadow of a gargantuan metal structure at Winnipeg's Forks Market, the Portraits of Honour trailer set up before dawn to welcome local media, and later, military members, veterans and civilians for a ceremony and public viewing. It was only after the crowds started to dissipate that the tour crew confirmed that the looming skeleton of a building was set to become the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. 

According to the museum's website:

"The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is envisioned to be a national and international destination, a centre of learning where Canadians and people from around the world can engage in discussion and commit to taking action against hate and oppression.The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is an embodiment of Canada's commitment to democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. Organizational values such as objectivity, innovation, and inclusiveness underpin all Museum activities so that operations mirror and advance our mandate."

How fitting that the Portraits of Honour, a tribute to 157 men and women who gave their very lives in the pursuit of improved quality of life for oppressed people be displayed here. One could not help but think of these heroes and all those who served before them who have given so much, and in some cases their very last breath, to strike down tyranny, cruelty, torture and torment.

How very different the stories that will be told in this Canadian Museum for Human Rights would be without the sacrifices of these courageous Canadians. Perhaps the idea of such a place would itself not even exist.

The people of Canada, of Europe, of Africa and Asia, of almost every corner of the globe, have been touched by help, humility and hope, given freely by  members of the Canadian Forces both past and present. For the first time in history, the 7th Book of Remembrance was displayed outside on the Portraits of Honour stage as a tribute to the men and women represented within who had given all in the pursuit of peace and stability. This world is different, and most would argue far better, because of it. Memorials like the Portraits of Honour, records like the Books of Remembrance and institutions like the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, show us just that.