On October 22, 2014 Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, while guarding the National War Memorial at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa, was shot and killed. He was a staunch soldier with the Hamilton Regiment of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise). About 10 days previously, Warrant Officer, Patrice Vincent (from Quebec) was also killed in Ottawa...both 24 years of age. I inscribe and address this writing out of compassion, patriotism to my country and of concern for the deliberate actions by terrorists on our Canadian Capital City, Ottawa...proudly situated along the banks of the lengthy Ottawa River (in Eastern Ontario) and adjacent to Gatineau, Quebec. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was from Hamilton, Ontario. On the following day, the Spectator featured a full single page...each side with a huge red poppy, its narrow outer edge in wine colour with black center and an inner white light that softly glowed. Most impressive! That evening, tears in my eyes, I watched the procession as the hearse carried the body of our soldier along the “Highway of Heroes” and along the Queen Elizabeth Highway en route to a funeral home in Hamilton's east end. Thousands of people lined overpasses to pay tribute to this soldier! Thousands of flowers and other sentiments (including dog toys for his two 'rescue pets' who will sadly miss him) were placed in front of the Armoury on James Street North. Referred to as 'Hamilton's Son', he has quickly become 'Canada's Son'!.
There is considerable media content coverage both locally and nationally which I've tearfully followed. He was married and has a 5-year old son...his family heartbroken. I take the liberty of conveying to you readers excerpts from various news items:
Readers Write: (from the Hamilton Spectator)
There Will Be Peace One Day...by Alasdair Paterson in Waterdown.
There Will Be Peace One Day...by Alasdair Paterson in Waterdown.
I was still wiping away tears as we got back from two hours on a Burlington bridge waiting for Corporal Nathan Cirillo. I knew it would be emotional, but I did not realize how powerful it would be.
Cars and trucks honked, people flashed the V sign, cheered, waved, flicked their lights. The family beside me had a sign made by their teenage daughter~ Canada Strong...Thank you Cpl. Nathan...R.I.P.
A little white before the motorcade arrived, the traffic going in the other direction slowed, so we knew he was near...then the traffic in the westbound lanes disappeared. I have never had goosebumps like that...it was the highway equivalent of a minute of silence. My legs started shaking and I started to cry. Singly, five police motorcycles appeared...then the procession came into view...and I lost it! I held up a picture of him and held the flag in my other hand...and I cried that we can honour someone like this and that we have people who beg and compete for the honour to do what he was doing when he died.
To the people who preach intolerance and hatred, and who initiate this and any other kind of violence against the innocent and those who stand up for them: now, more than ever in my life, I know something you don't seem to realize. We outnumber you ~ in immense proportions ~ and we outdo you in courage and kindness and love. There is Nothing you can do to win this fight. There will be peace one day, and you might be part of it. But with or without you, it will happen.
It’s Terrorism…by Lisa Chevalier, Ancaster
I think it is important not to confuse mental illness with a fanatical terrorist who blatantly made a choice to commit a savage, despicable act that was clearly meant to cut to the heart of a democratic, free loving country. These terrorists know what they are doing and for us to justify their behaviours by saying it is ‘mental illness’ is wrong. I have great compassion for those suffering with mental illness, but I have no compassion for terrorists!
Let's Have a Statue of Corporal Cirillo...by Guy Mersereau, Hamilton
He stood on guard for us. We sing, “We stand on guard for thee” whenever we sing O Canada. We have guards in our prisons and on our coasts ~ including Hamilton ~ and at our defensive posts, and we don't usually think that much about them. But who stands as he stood? And who gives as he gave? I hope to live and see a statue of Nathan Cirillo in full Argyle and Sutherland regalia...at the National War Memorial in Ottawa. He stood on guard for us...the Known Soldier!
I'll return to this writing after watching CHCH TV's presentation of
CANADA HONOURS CPL. CIRILLO
(2 ¾ hours of solemnly military compassion)
Playing for Fallen Comrade Will Be Piper's Toughest Lament
Same age, same rank ~ Argylls' Cpl. Kersell to honour his friend.
Cpl. Jazz Kersell is 24 years old ~ just like Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. For years they knew each other as young members of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. But neither could have imagined the sad scene that will play out on Tuesday. Kersell, a piper with 30-member Argyll Pipes and Drums band, has been assigned to perform the regiment's lament at Woodland Cemetery as Cirillo's body is being lowered into the ground. Piping at the funeral of a fallen regiment member is the toughest job a piper can be called upon to do, especially when the fallen regiment 'brother' is so young and the killing so senseless. Kersell (one of 18 pipers in the band that will also perform as a unit at the funeral) ~ was chosen because of the military tradition of assigning a piper who is most similar to the fallen soldier in rank and age.
“It's going to be quite overwhelming. I've played solo before at tattoos and funerals, but this is on a different scale entirely,” said Kersell who is a computer science student at McMaster University, when he is not piping for the Argylls. “There is a lot of tradition here...and I'm am proud to be part of carrying this tradition.” Argylls have been rehearsing over and over again every aspect of their involvement in the funeral. From the more than half-dozen pipe and drum songs, the band will perform to the lifting of the casket from the hearse and its placement on the converted gun carriage, to the gun salute. They want to get every last detail right to properly honour their fallen 'brother'.
As Kersell says, “The funeral is something
I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Among the many VIP's expected at the funeral are Prime Minister Stephen Harper, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader...and Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada.
The support of the nation in this devastating time
provides a measure of comfort and helps make this almost bearable.
(Statement from the Family of Corporal Nathan Cirillo)
A Large Colour Picture of Nathan and his son Marcus, in a loving Father/Son Admiration, highlights the following article written by J.R.W. McLauchlan CD LCol (Ret), Past Commanding Officer
Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders.
We Will Remember
To the Son of Corporal Nathan Cirillo:
You and I have never met but I felt at this time I wanted to share some thoughts about your father. I have asked that your family show you this letter at a time they feel is appropriate. I did not know your dad, but like him, I was a member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves and also a brother member of the 'Highlander Brigade' having served and led the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders in Cornwall, Ontario.
You probably were not old enough for your dad to explain to you or for you to understand his desire and pride to be a member of the “Argyll Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise).” Not too many Canadians, who are not members of the Armed Forces Reserve, can understand your father's drive to serve and eventually achieve his goal of membership in the Regular Force.
I can tell you that as a reservist myself, I feel the passion your father had for serving. Reservists join with only one purpose...to serve and protect Canada! Members of the reserve expect and await orders to carry out any mission...be it weekly local headquarter parades, summer training exercises, “call outs” to service at higher headquarters, deployment to such places as Korea, the Golan or Afghanistan. We also look with honour and pride at our deployments for ceremonial duties such as church parades, Remembrance Day services, visits of dignitaries to our home cities and barracks or duties in our nation's capital. The latter is what your dad was doing when he was taken from us.
Please remember the picture of your dad, Corporal Nathan Cirillo, standing proud in the dress uniform of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise). Remember the proud and stern look on his face as he stood honouring the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with his rifle in the “Rest on your arms reversed” drill position. He was not in a combative stance; he was in a stance of honour, of loyalty, remembrance and love for the many who had given their lives for Canada who to him and us are not known.
As a reservist and a Canadian, I take the words of our national anthem to heart each time I hear or sing that great hymn. Your father displayed the phrases “True patriot love” and We Stand on Guard for Thee.” I am sure that you will always be proud of your dad and what he did for you and country.
In a matter of weeks, Canada will join together on Nov. 11 to remember our fallen military women and men. On that day at 11 a.m. and on all succeeding Remembrance Days, we will add Corporal Nathan Cirillo to those whom we remember.
“At the going down of the sun and in the morning
we will remember them.”
Be strong and remember your father as a true Canadian patriot.
Dileas gu bas (Faithful unto Death).
Merle Baird-Kerr...written October 28, 2014
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