Chief Warrant Officer Robert Talach presides over citizenship ceremonies
Article / April 26, 2019 / Project number: 19-0119
By Corporal Cody Misner, 31 Canadian Brigade Group Public Affairs
London, Ontario — After 30 years of service in the Canadian Army, Chief Warrant Officer Robert Talach is ensuring that new Canadians get a warm welcome to their new home by presiding over citizenship ceremonies in Kitchener and London, Ontario.
Since early in 2019, he has welcomed about 300 new citizens to Canada from many parts of the world.
For CWO Talach, Brigade Sergeant Major of 31 Canadian Brigade Group, headquartered in London, Ontario, the desire to show these new Canadians a warm welcome stems from a personal connection.
‘Most familiar’ with the hardships of immigration
“In my case, my father left war-torn Europe as a child with his parents after the end of the Second World War,” CWO Talach said.
“His parents had been forced labour slaves under the Nazis. After the war, they came to Canada from a displaced persons camp and endured a most difficult transition.”
“My wife too, also left Poland as a child but decades later,” he continued. “This time it was not Nazis who drove them out, but rather the Communists.” “
“Through my family, I am most familiar with the hardships of immigration,” he said.
Order of Military Merit allows him to preside over citizenship ceremonies
After receiving The Order of Military Merit in 2016, CWO Talach, like all members of the national Order, became eligible to preside over citizenship ceremonies. The Order of Military Merit, created in 1972, recognizes meritorious service and devotion to duty by members of the Canadian Armed Forces. He served with the United Nations Protection Force in Bosnia in 1994-1995 and was also a Reservist while he was a student between undergraduate studies and law school.
He leaped at the opportunity as he wanted to give back to his country and ensure that his membership in the Order would reflect more than just an award for past service.
Inspires new Canadians as military member and lawyer role models
CWO Talach feels that by presiding over these citizenship ceremonies, he grows a closer connection to the country into which he was born.
As well, he would like to inspire in new Canadians the idea that they could one day have a child in his place, at the top of the enlisted ranks of the Canadian Army, and with a successful career as a lawyer.
Like many Reservists, he serves part time in the military and holds a full-time civilian career. CWO Talach is a partner at Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers in London, Ontario.
CWO Talach presided over a recent citizenship ceremony in his dress uniform, an appropriate gesture for a member of the Order of Military Merit. CWO Talach also feels the uniform plays a symbolic role for these new citizens.
Demonstrates that the Canadian military is a positive aspect of our society
“Some new citizens come from nations where the military is not always a force for good, so I wanted them to know that here in Canada the Canadian Armed Forces is a positive aspect of our society.”
Many of these individuals are from war-torn nations and receiving citizenship is the last step before their new life really begins. They come from all around the world eager to join our society and live under the same freedoms that all Canadians enjoy.
For the son of a European immigrant who lived under Nazi rule, CWO Talach finds each citizenship ceremony to be a sobering moment.
“When they would come up individually to get their certificate, I would inquire as to where they were coming from. For those who mentioned war-torn or poverty-stricken nations, I knew how important coming to Canada was for them,” he said.
“The new citizens were so excited to be joining our nation that it reminded me of how much we all take our citizenship for granted.”
‘Humbled’ to be the representative of this welcoming nation
CWO Talach says he’ll continue taking part in these ceremonies in London and Kitchener; not only to honour his own heritage and welcome new citizens, but also to uphold the ethos of the Order to which he was called.
“I was humbled to preside over this important day, and to be the representative of this welcoming nation is quite the honour.”
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