The country’s leadership took a moment of silence this Sunday, recognizing the ninth year since the tragedy that unfolded at Parliament Hill, a horrific episode that claimed the life of a Canadian reservist. In addition to this awful event, they also paid tribute to another member of the Armed Forces whose life was tragically cut short in a distinct assault that took place two days prior to the one in Ottawa.
“Today marks nine years since a day of terror targeted the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill. A day that stole a life, injured numerous others, and inflicted a profound injury to our nation, to every Canadian, and to the values we hold near and dear,” announced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The tragedy at the heart of the acknowledgment was the merciless attack on Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a 24-year-old soldier of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. In the year 2014, while keeping dutiful guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a gunman maliciously ended his life. The assailant then proceeded to enter the Centre Block on Parliament Hill, armed with a rifle, only to be stymied by Kevin Vickers, the then sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons, and his fellow officers.
One of the key individuals who risked his life to stop this rampage was RCMP Const. Curtis Barrett, whose valiant efforts were recognized in an investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police. In recognition of his bravery under perilous circumstances, Barrett was awarded the Star of Courage.
In the salient remarks from Trudeau, he also brought attention to the loss of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, aged 53. Vincent’s life was taken in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, two days before Cirillo’s murder when he and another Armed Forces member were struck by a car. The perpetrator was later neutralized by police.
“Each of them served as brave members of the Canadian Armed Forces, dedicating themselves to our country. We extend our deepest condolences to their families, loved ones, and colleagues,” Trudeau added.
The Conservative Leader, Pierre Poilievre, additionally commented that “Today, we remember these men whose lives were taken in the line of duty, and whose memory we honour. We continue to uphold the very principles they sought to destroy – values of freedom and democracy.”
Adding to the sentiments, Jagmeet Singh, the NDP Leader, offered his thoughts to the loved ones of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. “We honour their memory and extend our gratitude to all those who risk their safety to protect others.”
As the country collectively remembers the lives lost and many affected, Canadians remain unwavering in their commitment to stand against hatred and terror, striving for peace, security, and freedom for all, both locally and globally. The events of the past have not undermined the nation but have rather strengthened the resolve of every Canadian to uphold values of democratic freedom.