Protecting our True North
Today is cold and overcast, a typical autumn day in Canada. In the early morning hours, one of our soldiers, Nathan Cirillo, 24, woke up to another day of work in Ottawa, our country's capital.
By nine o'clock he's on the job guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. A reservist from Hamilton, Ontario he is a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. He's in uniform, standing tall and looking sharp, his gun by his side. His gun is not loaded.
Shortly after 9:30 a.m., two shots ring out and Nathan drops to the ground. The shooter, nose and mouth covered with a kerchief, raises his arms in triumph. Nathan is alive when paramedics arrive and start CPR. I'm hoping and praying he survives, but Nathan dies later in hospital.
I'm struck by the difference between the soldier and the terrorist. I can picture Nathan standing guard, his head held high. And why shouldn't he hold his head high? Canadians are proud of their soldiers, our defenders of democracy and international keepers of peace.
Brave men and women putting their lives on the line to protect our freedom.
The terrorist, on the other hand, is a bully with a gun. The coward hiding behind his kerchief. He doesn't take responsibility for his failures, because he's too busy blaming the world. His cause is born of evil, and motivated by hate.
There is a common theme among terrorists. They are thugs and bullies using violence to get their own way. Cowards, they cover their faces as they attack the defenceless with a ruthless fervour, leaving the blood of innocents in their wake. No compromise, no mediation, no peace. The terrorists believe they are winning, because they are effective in creating terror in the hearts of all people.
What they don't know, is that we won't live in a state of paralyzed dread for much longer. The terror will turn to anger and we will not bend. We will rise up. I only hope we can stand like our brave soldiers, in our true north, strong and free.