“In the year and a half since I arrived in Canada, I have traveled throughout this beautiful country, from sea to sea to sea and had the privilege to get to know Canadians at every stop. I have to say that I’ve been looking forward to this particular trip for quite a while. Not only is this my first visit to Newfoundland and Labrador, but I’m proud to report that with my arrival in St. John’s today, I have now visited every Canadian province and territory. And although I may have to take a more diplomatic position on it, I’m certain most of you believe resolutely that I’ve saved the best for last.
“I’m told the people of this province are fiercely proud — with good reason — you are renowned for the beauty of your province, your music, your history, and your independent spirit.
“One of the reasons I am so pleased to be here is that it gives me a chance to honor your compassion, generosity, and hospitality. In the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, the good people of Newfoundland and Labrador provided loving care to thousands of travelers from the United States and other countries.
“At a moment in history that illustrated the depths of the human capacity for evil, you instead demonstrated an enduring capacity for goodness and kindness. Not only did you open your communities, your homes, and your tables to groups of strangers — the ‘plane people’ — caught up in the maelstrom that day, you opened your hearts. You did it because that is who the people of Newfoundland and Labrador are.
“I am proud to be President Obama’s personal representative to Canada. And I’m especially proud of the historic friendship between the Canadian and American people, unrivaled throughout the world.
“On behalf of my grateful nation, I thank you again for your selfless assistance on that tragic day. I assure you that we remember.
“I am excited to be in St. John’s and I look forward to a memorable visit.”