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Bravery Awards Given By Canada’s Governor General

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Canada's Governor-General, David Johnston. Image: Nick Matthews
Canada’s Governor General, David Johnston. Image: Nick Matthews

Since 1972, the Governor General of Canada has given out special awards to people for risking their lives to help someone else.

One of them is the Medal of Bravery, which is awarded to someone who has done something very brave in a dangerous situation. In December, Governor General David Johnston handed out 39 Medals of Bravery.

One bravery medal was awarded to a woman who helped rescue nine people from an Orillia, Ontario retirement home that was on fire. Another medal was given to a teenager in British Columbia who saved his friend’s life by tackling a dangerous person.

Three people received a Star of Courage during the ceremony. The Star of Courage is given to people who have been extremely brave even when it meant possibly putting themselves in danger.

The act of bravery doesn’t have to happen in Canada and the brave person doesn’t have to be Canadian, for them to be eligible for a medal. But the act does have to involve Canadians or Canadian interests. Anyone can nominate a person to receive a medal of bravery.

The Governor General gave a speech before he awarded the medals. The speech, posted on his website, talks about the importance of sharing the stories of people who have stepped up in times of danger:

“When we tell your stories—of bravery and heroism—we are telling our collective story as well, the story of Canada as a nation of people who care for the well-being of others. The telling and retelling of your story will encourage others to be brave, to show courage in the face of nearly insurmountable obstacles. It is an uplifting message, and one that we need to convey.”

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
What does it mean to be brave? Think of your own definition of bravery. Then use your definition to explain why the people described in this story were brave.

Reading Prompt: Extending Understanding
Can you think of a time when you were brave or a friend of yours was brave? Describe the situation aloud or in writing, and explain how it demonstrates bravery.

Primary
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Junior
Extend understanding of texts by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Intermediate
Extend understanding of texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts, by connecting the ideas in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights, to other familiar texts, and to the world around them (OME, Reading: 1.6).

Grammar Feature: Hyphen
A hyphen, which is also called a dash, connects two words together. For example, “Governor-General” is a hyphenated word.

Can you think of any other hyphenated words?