Film remembers beloved son, soldier Marc Diab

  • November 4, 2010
Trooper Marc DiabTORONTO - He was a beloved son, youth leader and Canadian soldier who wore his faith and patriotism proudly as he served in Afghanistan.

So much so that a rosary was found inside the helmet he wore that was recovered after the roadside blast that took his life last year.

On Remembrance Day, the story of Trooper Marc Diab will serve as an “active remembrance” of the sacrifice of all Canadian soldiers, says the director of a new documentary about Diab and the impact of his death upon his family.

“The story is a catalyst to tell a bigger story about Canadians,” said Brendan Culliton, a recent graduate of broadcasting and media theory production.

Up to 400 students from Mississauga’s St. Joseph Catholic High School will watch the feature-length documentary If I Should Fall. The film by Joint Media Inc. will be screened at  Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre at 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 11. Admission is by donation and proceeds will go towards the Marc Diab Children’s Foundation, a non-profit group started by Diab’s parents to commemorate their son’s work with children, including the youth group at Toronto’s Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church. The film will also be shown to Diab’s military brothers in Petawawa, Ont., Afghanistan and Bahrain.

The documentary will feature video footage shot by Diab during his time in Afghanistan as well as interviews with his family and Diab’s comrades who were with him on March 8, 2009 when a roadside bomb exploded near the vehicle carrying Diab and other soldiers.

Diab was the 112th soldier (of more than 150) killed since Canada’s mission began in Afghanistan in 2002. A majority of Canada’s fallen soldiers were like Diab, in their 20s and killed by an improvised explosive device.

The 22-year-old trooper was scheduled to return to Canada about two weeks before his death and was planning to propose to his childhood sweetheart.

Given their closeness in age, Culliton said he related to Diab. A few years ago, Culliton had considered entering the military but chose to pursue a film career instead.

The slain trooper’s spiritual faith and his “strong connection to life” are reflected in the film, Culliton said.

Diab’s father, Hani, said the documentary will show the raw emotions of a grieving family, reflective of the sorrow and pain felt by all families who have lost a loved one in war.

“We don’t want to forget them,” he said.

Hani said his son’s sacrifice has not been forgotten. The military, Our Lady of Lebanon parish, their local community and Canadians across the country have supported the family during their time of loss, he said. The family has also received support from the Canadian government. During Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Canada in July, Diab’s parents were invited to meet her.

Hani said his son’s memory lives on in the film, and in other ways such as a new Lebanese restaurant in Petawawa to fulfill one of his son’s dreams of opening such a restaurant near the base he used to call home.

At the back of St. Joseph High School, where Diab attended after his family immigrated from Lebanon in 2000, the park was renamed Trooper Marc Diab Park in January.

Principal Frances Jacques said having students attend the documentary’s premiere ensures that “kids remember the sacrifices in general that have happened before their time during major world conflicts.”

Jacques, who was vice-principal when Diab attended the school, said he was “energetic, always had a bounce to his step” and “always wanted to serve his country.”

Diab helped students who were newcomers to Canada, she said.

“Marc was a great example for our kids,” Jacques said. “He brings home the sacrifice.”

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