Remembrance Day services on Tuesday will likely feel a little different this year.
On Oct. 22 Canadians were shocked when a lone gunman ended the life of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo as he stood guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
The gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, then went to the nearby Parliament buildings and the nation held its breath as he stormed in only metres from parliamentarians holding their weekly caucus meetings.
The attack happened two days after two other Canadian soldiers were run down in Quebec by another troubled young man.
In the days that followed, veterans and cadets took up Cirillo’s watch at their own local cenotaphs.
It was their way of thanking the young reservist for his selfless duty that ended up costing him his life.
As investigators worked to determine if the two incidents were linked, and perhaps new manifestations of homegrown terrorism, soldiers were cautioned to keep a low profile, and refrain from wearing their uniforms in public. That changes on Tuesday.
Veterans, current military personnel, reservists and cadets will pull on their snappy, pressed uniforms, don their caps and berets, pin their medals to their chests, and put one last glean on their polished shoes.
They’ll parade down streets across the country to gather in city squares, around cenotaphs and memorials to remember those who served before them and lost their lives. And we’ll thank them with our applause, handshakes and pats on the bank.
Because it’s their dedication, hard work and sacrifice that has kept the fright and destruction of war from touching most of our lives directly.
- Black Press