The Canadian flag is an inspiring and endearing symbol that unites Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
It is equated both at home and abroad with a peaceful and progressive country of enormous natural beauty, prosperity and generosity of spirit.
At no time is national pride in our flag more evident than during the Olympic Games, and it is certainly on prominent display in Sochi over so many podiums and around so many of our magnificent athletes.
We could not be more proud.
In keeping with the recent tradition of presenting a Peace Tower flag to deserving Canadians, I am deeply honoured to present this symbol of our country to Gordon Burke and Jan Phelan, parents of the late Sarah Burke, who are accompanied today by widower Rory Bushfield.
Sarah was a gifted athlete, a trailblazer in freestyle skiing, and one of the principal reasons why the halfpipe was introduced as an Olympic sport this year in Sochi, Russia.
She was a great Canadian whose efforts have had a remarkable impact on the world of sport, and whose story has touched the nation.
Her legacy will live on in the many athletes who take up the sport she so championed.
On this day, I invite all Canadians to take a moment and reflect on our national icon and what it means to be Canadian.
February 15 was declared National Flag of Canada Day in 1996. To celebrate this special day in Canadian history, each year the Peace Tower flag is presented to a Canadian who has exemplified the values our country holds most dear.