Canada unveils its own Victoria Cross

May 17th, 2008 - 9:30 am ICT by admin  

Ottawa, May 17 (IANS) Canada unveiled its own version of the fabled Victoria Cross at a ceremony in the capital Friday. Prime Minister Stephen Harper joined Governor General Michaelle Jean in unveiling the Canadian minted Victoria Cross at the latter’s official residence of Rideau Hall.

`Today the Victoria Cross becomes fully, truly Canadian,” the prime minister said at the unveiling ceremony.

Like Great Britain, the Victoria Cross is also Canada’s highest military award for bravery in battle. All Victoria Cross medals given to Canadian soldiers till now were minted in Britain.

With Friday’s unveiling of its Canadian version, all future Victoria Cross medals will be locally minted.

Though all major features of the British Victoria Cross, which was unveiled by Queen Victoria in 1856, have been retained, the Canadian Victoria Cross has incorporated `a number of small but significant Canadian design and content features.

The original inscription, `For Valour’, has been changed to the Latin `Pro Valore,’ on Canada’s Victoria Cross.

Explaining this, Harper said, “We are using the ancient language employed by our English and French ancestors to express the universal ideal that they shared.”

Other unique Canadian elements in it include metal from the 1867 Confederation medal (which was created the year (1867) Canada became a confederation) as well as metals from all Canadian regions.

Stressing the need for a Canadian Victoria Cross, the prime minister said,“Every day, in military missions at home and abroad, Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen are putting their lives on the line for us.

“Someday, somewhere, one of those men or women will do something so brave, so gallant, so exceptional, that he or she will join the legendary cadre of the Canadian Forces who wear the pride of a nation on their chests.”

Till now, 94 Canadians have won the Victoria Cross for bravery in battle. Second World War veteran Smoky Smith, who was the last recipient of the medal, died last year.

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