I rarely put into words my opinions or feelings regarding current news stories, but I have to admit that tragic events often bring out my compassionate side as I often find myself empathizing with those who were affected. As a student of history, the compassion often deepens as I have been taught to question why such acts happen and to seek out reasons from our past that could have altered the history we’ve just created.
After yesterday’s tragic events in Ottawa, I felt an even deeper sense of emotion. At first, I felt fear. I’m sure as many of my fellow Canadians must have felt, we were shocked that an act of terror could occur on our home soil. We were all asking ourselves, “How did this happen?” and, “Why did this happen?”
As many reporters indicated, many of us felt like we lost our innocence as a nation yesterday. A nation that has won the world over as a gentle giant and a peaceful, welcoming country, it is easy to understand why we felt this way, but as the hours pass, it is this image of our nation that gives me comfort.
It comforts me because in typical Canadian fashion we are continuing to own up to our kind-hearted nature by remaining true to our roots through acts of selflessness and honour. Instead of focusing on the negative, we are choosing to focus on the positive. The good deeds people have done in light of this tragedy, and of course, the hero who has fallen for us, Corporal Nathan Cirillo.
As I mentioned above, like any human being, I feel a great sense of compassion when I learn of tragic events and go to great lengths to understand them, but this event in particular has hit closer to home for me. A city that has shown me so much love, my heart goes out to the great City of Ottawa, however, it’s not just because this tragedy happened in my homeland, but it hits a bit harder because our fallen hero was from my very own hometown – Hamilton.
As strange as it sounds, seeing the outpouring of love for this fallen soldier through the media’s images only solidifies how close to home it actually is. To know he walked our streets and called this city his home is haunting, and with every emerging story about this well loved man, my heart breaks, but it also strengthens.
It is undoubtedly tragic that this man died guarding one of our country’s most treasured monuments, but his death has also bounded us together as Canadians. Together we are stronger and together we will continue to act in a manner that is true to only our nation – just, peaceful, gracious, and humble.
It is because of this, among a plethora of other reasons that I am and have always been immensely proud to be Canadian. True. North. Strong and Free. You will forever be in our hearts, and we will never forget.