Lest We Forget

A few reflections on this past week.

The acts of violence, murder and terrorism of this week were perpetrated by Canadian-born assailants. Youth who were radicalized in Canada into a violent and radical brand of Islam. I won’t name the alleged persons because they deserve to be forgotten. The focus should be on those who gave their lives serving their country, their families, and the people who were injured and pray for their speedy recovery, as well as their families.

Acts of terror have happened before in Canada including the bombing campaigns of the violent separatists known as the FLQ who conducted a bombing campaign that killed 8 people in the mid to late 1960s until they were stopped in 1971. The 1985 Air India bombing by Sikh terrorists killed 268 Canadians (329 people in total).

Many of our NATO allies have felt the sting of domestic terror attacks. Whether it is 9/11 in the United States or the London bombings on July 7, 2005, these were mass murders committed by Islamic terrorists and in the latter case in London; committed by home grown terrorists. While in the UK this past July for a study abroad program I got to walk many of the train stations targeted in the bombings and it is amazing to see how people have moved on, but also how security has been reinforced to prevent future attacks without the “bunker-feel” so many people are concerned about.

Let’s also remember that even the mother of all Parliaments in Westminster has been targeted in the past. The Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and the 1979 murder of Airey Neave in a bombing by the Irish National Liberation Army are just two such instances.

What happened is not unique to Western countries and although exceedingly rare in Canada. We are part of the Western World and despite our geographic distance to conflict zones we remain targets to those who see Canada as a stalwart defender across the globe of free trade, human rights and democracy.

For now, let’s remember the two members of the Canadian Forces who, while serving at home, lost their lives in the pursuit of their duty.

Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was run down in a parking lot. A 28-year veteran of the Canadian Forces who was a military firefighter. He was months away from his well earned retirement. He was a member of the Joint Personnel Support Unit at the Integrated Personnel Support Centre – helping soldiers, their families and veterans access support services from the federal government.

Corporal Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed while standing guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A Hamilton reservist serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada regiment. Cirillo was a citizen soldier, and a father. Reportedly, his dream was to become a full-time member of the Canadian Forces.

Lest We Forget.