|Saluting our nation's fallen soldier as he returns home to Hamilton, Ontario.|
- It's been a tough week for our great country. The events that unfolded last week has left us speechless and in shock. Our nation is in mourning. We lost two Canadian soldiers in what appears to be terrorist attacks. Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was run down in Quebec a eight days ago, and two days later Corporal Nathan Cirillo was shot down at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa while standing guard. Corporal Cirillo was from Hamilton.
- Friday morning I took my regular running route in the east end of Hamilton. I normally run this route 2x per week. As I ran down a street I frequent regularly, I noticed Canadian flags draped on the light posts. I figured I was in a very patriotic stretch of neighbourhood, considering what had just happened. Then I saw the flowers and balloons and noticed the police cars and realized where I was. I was running by Cpl. Cirillo's family home. It was before dawn and the neighborhood was very quiet. Just me and the two police cars. I recognized the house from pictures on the internet. Such a stab of pain to my heart. I could not even imagine the pain and despair the people in that house were feeling. I continued my run lost in thought.
- I thought about a time 3 years ago when I was visiting my family in Scarborough. Just after we left on a Sunday evening in the summer to head home, we noticed a crowd of people on the 401 McCowan Road overpass. They were holding Canadian flags and there were emergency vehicles parked there as well. It took me a moment to figure out what was happening. One of our fallen soldiers was returning from Afghanistan and taking the trip from CFB Trenton to the coroner's office in central Toronto. I remember looking back at Julien and feeling such a stab of pain, just imagining what that young soldier's mother must have felt like. One of the images of this past week that was hardest for me to see, was Cpl. Cirillo's mother following her son's casket from the funeral home in Ottawa to the hearse which would bring him home to Hamilton along the Highway of Heroes.
- On Friday night, my small family walked to the foot of our street in Hamilton to watch the motorcade that transported Cpl. Cirillo to the funeral home where he would rest in state less than a kilometer from my home. It was an incredibly somber moment. So many unanswerable questions from a 7-year-old. And it was quiet. Hundreds of people lined the streets with Canadian flags, but it was so quiet. A Hamilton fire truck waited with it's lights flashing. As the procession passed the firefighters saluted and applause broke out. Not the joyful applause of a celebration, but sad applause, if you can imagine that. No one spoke. And once the motorcade passed, the crowd dispersed and everyone walked away with heavy hearts.
- A difficult time for sure. For Canada, for the world. Our pain is felt internationally and the world is in disbelief right along with us. I still shake my head over these unbelievable events. Today Cpl. Cirillo was laid to rest in a full regimental funeral service in Hamilton. Looking at the press pictures just now, my heart is again in shreds seeing the pain and despair on his mother's face. This blog has taken me days to write because I wasn't sure if I could accurately express my feelings. The events of last week has changed our country forever. God bless the Cirillo and Vincent families. God bless us all.