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THE LATE DR. NAIRN KNOTT

Honourable Senators, I rise to pay tribute to a true Canadian hero, Dr. Nairn Knott, born in Nanaimo, B.C. on November 14, 1920. On March 13, 2011, surrounded by his loving family, his children, Janet, Buz and Lyall; their spouses, George Hungerford, Wendi Copeland and Susan; his grandchildren, Geordie, Michael, Drew and Janie; his three great grandchildren; and his one and only love of 68 years, Jane, nee Murdoch, Dr. Knott passed away peacefully at the Vancouver General Hospital, the very place where he was one of the attending staff for 42 years.

Dr. Knott was a highly regarded physician whose bedside manner was legendary, as were his early morning hospital visits to see his patients. He practiced medicine with great compassion and understanding. His life was one of service.

He decided at a young age that he wanted to become a doctor. He obtained his degree from Columbia University and completed his medical studies at New York Medical College. He received his commission in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps in 1942. After completing his medical training, he served in the Pacific where he was decorated for his role in the liberation of Hong Kong and of the Philippines. He was awarded a Battle Star for his participation in the war against Japan.

In August of 1945, he was a member of the Allied Command that accepted the surrender of the Imperial Japanese Navy. In 1948, he returned to active duty in the Navy to pursue studies for his chosen specialty of Internal Medicine.

It is impossible to capture the breadth of someone's life in a brief statement. I would be merely scratching the surface of Dr. Knott's illustrious medical or military career or his leadership role in numerous organizations.

Dr. Knott was a member of the Conservative Party for many years; he encouraged his family, including his youngest son, Lyall, to also become members. I had the honour of meeting Dr. Nairn Knott for the first time in the fall of 2010, with Lyall. I met Lyall through politics, and I simply knew him as an eminent Conservative from British Columbia.

Last summer, at Senator St. Germain's home, Lyall and I had a conversation about the motion to "recognize and endorse July 27th annually as National Korean War Veterans Day," which we unanimously passed on June 8, 2010. Lyall's father, Dr. Knott, is one of the Second World War veterans who also answered the call to serve in the Korean War. Like other Second World War veterans with knowledge, skill and nerves of steel that only direct experience can produce, Dr. Knott added invaluable depth and strength to the military might of the Allied forces.

A few months later, Lyall arranged for me to visit his parents' home. I will remember Dr. Knott, a Canadian hero, whose legacy also includes the Republic of Korea's meteoric rise to economic prosperity and the lives of millions of people of Korean descent and their successes, including mine. We are indebted to Dr. Knott and all veterans of the Korean War for our lives.

In 1950, when war broke out on the Korean peninsula, Dr. Knott volunteered to attend the Naval Air Training Command at Pensacola, Florida, where he qualified as a naval aviator and flight surgeon, volunteering for active duty aboard the aircraft carrier USS Boxer. He was decorated with battle stars for his role in the Battle of Pusan and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.

He is not only a decorated hero, but also a hero beyond measure in the hearts of millions, and in my heart. It is beyond measure and comprehension, the sacrifices that nearly 30,000 Canadians made for a foreign people across a vast ocean, in a Third World country that people hardly knew of, until the hostilities intensified and captured the attention of the world.

Some Canadians went looking for adventure, some for greater meaning in their lives and for many, as Dr. Knott stated, "It was the right thing to do." The right thing for a devoted husband and father, who had a successful medical practice in Vancouver and was awaiting the arrival of his third child, may have been to ignore the call to action, but Dr. Knott volunteered to serve in Korea. His loving wife let him go, knowing he might never return, and his son, Lyall, was born in his father's absence.

Dr. Knott left his home, his practice and his family for the people of Korea, for my parents and for me. With sincere gratitude and the deepest of respect to the Knott family, I make this tribute in memory of Dr. Nairn Knott, beloved husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather and veteran — a true Canadian hero.

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