National leaders solemnly observed the ninth anniversary of an unprecedented attack on Parliament Hill, a day equally marked by the tragic fatality of a Canadian reservist. This commemoration also enveloped the passing of another Armed Forces member who met his death in a distinct incident merely two days prior to the Ottawa attack.
Recounting the harrowing events that took place nine years ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reflected, “A terrorist assault on the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill stole one life and severely injured numerous others, inflicting a profound scar on our nation, on all Canadians, and on the principles we intimately cherish.”
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a youthful and dedicated 24-year-old member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, fell victim to this horrifying act of violence. Whilst safeguarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa, an armed assailant attacked, ruthlessly ending Cirillo’s life before storming the Centre Block on Parliament Hill. There, Kevin Vickers, then sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons, alongside other officers, valiantly subdued the gunman.
Among these heroes was RCMP Const. Curtis Barrett, later awarded the Star of Courage for his significant role in apprehending the gunman. This noble accolade serves to acknowledge those whose courage shines in circumstances of grave danger.
Casting a thoughtful glance back, Prime Minister Trudeau also drew attention to Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, a 53-year-old casualty of an earlier attack in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. Vincent met his untimely death when a man, who police later shot and killed, intentionally mowed him and a fellow Armed Forces member down with a vehicle.
Recalling the substantial sacrifice these servicemen made for their country, Trudeau extended heartfelt condolences to their respective families, friends, and colleagues.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre, similarly moved, remembered the fallen men solemnly, honoring their selfless duty to their nation. Stirred by their sacrifice, he voiced his reaffirmation to uphold the pillars of freedom and democracy. As part of his reflective nostalgia, he warned against allowing such acts of malice to compromise the Canadian nation. He vowed to continue battling terrorism, pledging security, peace, and freedom for all people.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh echoed these sentiments, expressing empathy for the families of Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent. He honored their memory and expressed gratitude to those who risk their own safety in protecting others.