The attack on Ottawa, one year later

‘One year ago today, Canada’s heart and soul were attacked … And on that day, we lost a son.’

Marcus Cirillo lays a wreath in front of the plaque dedicated to his father after the commemoration ceremony to mark one year since the fatal Oct. 22, 2014 shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photograph by David Kawai)

Marcus Cirillo lays a wreath in front of the plaque dedicated to his father after the commemoration ceremony to mark one year since the fatal Oct. 22, 2014 shooting of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Oct. 22, 2015. (Photograph by David Kawai)

Awhile after the louder pomp and circumstance of the state ceremony, a plaque was unveiled under the shade of a nearby tree.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. After a moving and powerful service on our National War Memorial, we now gather in more intimate confines with the family, friends and comrades of the Cpl. Nathan Cirillo,” said Erin O’Toole, veterans affairs minister for another two weeks, standing on the sidewalk that encircles the monumental island in downtown Ottawa. “One year ago today, Canada’s heart and soul were attacked. Canada’s heart, our parliamentary democracy, mere steps from here, but our soul symbolized by our National War Memorial, and the tens of thousands, over multiple generations, who gave their life in the service of our country and its ideals. And on that day, we lost a son.”

The national display had included a 21-gun salute by the 30th Field Artillery Regiment’s C3 Howitzers and a flyby of CF-18s in the “missing man” formation. In attendance were the current and next prime ministers of Canada, the chief of defence staff, the commissioner of the RCMP, the ministers of veterans affairs and public safety, the leaders of the government and opposition in the Senate, and the mayor of Ottawa. Music had been provided by the Central Band of the Canadian  Forces. Governor General David Johnston, medals pinned to his chest, his flag raised upon his arrival, inspected the uniformed contingent standing in rows, and then delivered remarks.

“It’s been one year,” he said. “We continue to grieve. We continue to heal.”

We have also carried on. The official business of the nation, the proceedings of the House of Commons, resumed the next day. The Hill reopened to the public on Oct. 25. Kevin Vickers became ambassador to Ireland. The hole left by a bullet in the frame of the door to the Library of Parliament was, at some point, filled in. Even as much as C-51 might have been considered a response to Oct. 22—keeping in mind that none of the new measures would have obviously done anything to prevent that attack—we shall now see how much of it a new Parliament chooses to keep.

But for the periodic sight of an officer with a very large gun—not something I recall seeing before last Oct. 22—it might be possible to go about one’s day without thinking about what happened. But there is no doubt still trauma that lingers in the mind and nerves of those that were in the vicinity. The event, or the idea of it, surely still lingers somewhere in the national consciousness.

“It’s been one year,” Johnston said. “Many people said Canada changed forever last October. But I don’t think Canada changed forever. Canadians are a caring, courageous people, and that did not change, and that will not change.”

So we might say that the symbolism and real violence of the act does not yet seemed to have altered the course or nature of this nation. But that is hardly all of it.

Around those with official titles sat both the family of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, killed Oct. 20 of last year, and the Cirillo family: Nathan’s mother, stepfather, two sisters and brother-in-law, a niece, a nephew and Marcus, Nathan’s son. As Johnston spoke, Marcus, his baby face broadcast widely a year ago, played with his cousin Chloe, the young girl, sitting in her mother’s lap, reaching out to put her hands in Marcus’s mouth. Marcus, his father taken away a year earlier, was restless. At one point he took a large yellow maple leaf that must have fallen from one of the trees overhead and put it inside the large white envelope he was carrying.

After officials in suits and uniforms had prepared the scene, Cirillo’s regiment marched up to the street to stand in front of the spot in the shade.

“Canada’s son,” O’Toole said, “but also a father, a brother, a son, a friend, a comrade in arms, in Nathan Cirillo. And he was struck not for who he was as a man. He was struck of the values his uniform symbolized.”

Cirillo’s mother, Cathy, came forward to unveil the monument to his death, removing the blue-and-green plaid blanket that wrapped the mounted plaque. “In honour of CORPORAL NATHAN CIRILLO,” it reads. “Killed on October 22, 2014 as he stood sentry at the sacred Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Corporal Cirillo never left his post. Forevermore he shall stand sentry, on guard for Canada.”

She looked at it for awhile with a slight, stricken smile. She returned to her husband and wiped away tears. Then she looked away and put her face in his shoulder.


The attack on Ottawa, one year later

  1. Yes – that is a VERY sad state of affairs – to bad the new PM does not believe that there is any threat as he prepared to bring in 25000 refugees that we know nothing about- In addition he is pulling our forces from the fight with ISIS – this is really going to show we are weak and do not support our allies especially the US –The truth is we would probably be speaking Russian if it was not for the US – But don’t worry – our new tough guy Justin is going to give Putin a piece of his mind, This guy does not have a clue and is going to put Canada on the world stage as a prime drop in center (he will ruin this country and we may never recover). Yes Justin — there are MANY reasons that we should be on guard this is just one of many that have been thwarted or are in the process of being planned. Isis has made it quite clear the want the west wiped off the map and this idiot is letting them in wholesale. They are doing a fine job of establishing themselves in Europe and Britain now has exclusion zones that muslims control and practice Sharia law (Just Google it if you do not believe me) – now he is thinking about getting away from the new fighter jets – I heard a rumor that he is looking at Piper cubs as a replacement — after all why do we need a military at all???? (and they can crop dust on the weekends) You don’t believe these refugees are a threat then read this. It is interesting to note the comment about the press not being allowed to publish this type of info. I really wonder why– the great snow jog is on the way

    Yesterday, at the hospital we had a meeting about how the situation here and at the other Munich hospitals is unsustainable. Clinics cannot handle emergencies, so they are starting to send everything to the hospitals.

    Many Muslims are refusing treatment by female staff and, we, women, are refusing to go among those animals, especially from Africa. Relations between the staff and migrants are going from bad to worse. Since last weekend, migrants going to the hospitals must be accompanied by police with K-9 units.

    Many migrants have AIDS, syphilis, open TB and many exotic diseases that we, in Europe, do not know how to treat them. If they receive a prescription in the pharmacy, they learn they have to pay cash. This leads to unbelievable outbursts, especially when it is about drugs for the children. They abandon the children with pharmacy staff with the words: “So, cure them here yourselves!” So the police are not just guarding the clinics and hospitals, but also large pharmacies.

    Truly we said openly: Where are all those who had welcomed in front of TV cameras, with signs at train stations?! Yes, for now, the border has been closed, but a million of them are already here and we will definitely not be able to get rid of them.

    Until now, the number of unemployed in Germany was 2.2 million. Now it will be at least 3.5 million. Most of these people are completely unemployable. A bare minimum of them have any education. What is more, their women usually do not work at all. I estimate that one in ten is pregnant. Hundreds of thousands of them have brought along infants and little kids under six, many emaciated and neglected. If this continues and German re-opens its borders, I’m going home to the Czech Republic. Nobody can keep me here in this situation, not even double the salary than at home. I went to Germany, not to Africa or the Middle East.

    Even the professor who heads our department told us how sad it makes him to see the cleaning woman, who for 800 Euros cleans every day for years, and then meets young men in the hallways who just wait with their hand outstretched, want everything for free, and when they don’t get it they throw a fit.

    I really don’t need this! But I’m afraid that if I return, that at some point it will be the same in the Czech Republic. If the Germans, with their nature cannot handle this, there in Czechia it would be total chaos. Nobody who has not come in contact with them has no idea what kind of animals they are, especially the ones from Africa, and how Muslims act superior to our staff, regarding their religious accommodation.

    For now, the local hospital staff has not come down with the diseases they brought here, but, with so many hundreds of patients every day – this is just a question of time.

    In a hospital near the Rhine, migrants attacked the staff with knives after they had handed over an 8-month-old on the brink of death, which they had dragged across half of Europe for three months. The child died in two days, despite having received top care at one of the best pediatric clinics in Germany. The physician had to undergo surgery and two nurses are laid up in the ICU. Nobody has been punished.

    The local press is forbidden to write about it, so we know about it through email. What would have happened to a German if he had stabbed a doctor and nurses with a knife? Or if he had flung his own syphilis-infected urine into a nurse’s face and so threatened her with infection? At a minimum he’d go straight to jail and later to court. With these people – so far, nothing has happened.

    And so I ask, where are all those greeters and receivers from the train stations? Sitting pretty at home, enjoying their non-profits and looking forward to more trains and their next batch of cash from acting like greeters at the stations. If it were up to me I would round up all these greeters and bring them here first to our hospital’s emergency ward, as attendants. Then, into one building with the migrants so they can look after them there themselves, without armed police, without police dogs who today are in every hospital here in Bavaria, and without medical help.

    • Yaaaah, when we want advice from bigoted Europeans with minimal knowledge of our Country we’ll go to the top, thank you…call up a Le Pen – there are less language issues with the French, seeing as how we are a bilingual, multicultural country. Bonne chance!

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