Toronto school remembers fallen soldier

  • June 29, 2007
{mosimage}TORONTO - Across the city of Toronto in late June, flags were flying at half mast. Outside of Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School in Scarborough, the lowered flag was accompanied by a photographic memorial set up in honour of former student and fallen soldier Cpl. Stephen Bouzane. Cpl. Bouzane, 26, died alongside two comrades, Sgt. Christos Karigiannis and Pte. Joel Vincent Wiebe, when their unarmoured vehicle hit a roadside bomb southwest of Kandahar on June 20.
The three soldiers were carrying out a supply run along a particularly treacherous stretch of terrain as a part of the NATO mission in Afghanistan. All three belonged to Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based out of Edmonton, a unit that has lost 27 soldiers since 2002. The deaths of Cpl. Bouzane, Sgt. Karigiannis and Pte. Wiebe bring the total number of Canadian casualties in Afghanistan to 61.

Cpl. Bouzane was remembered by Jean Vanier teachers as a studious young man who played on the hockey team and took school very seriously. Vice-principal Ray Sandborn said that although he was not at the school when Cpl. Bouzane was a student, those who were spoke of him as a very dedicated, very good student. Bouzane graduated from Jean Vanier Secondary in 1999. He also attended St. Boniface Catholic School in Scarborough.

On June 21, Jean Vanier opened its doors to people wishing to come in and express condolences to those who knew Cpl. Bouzane. Two of his former classmates were among those who visited the school.

Sandborn said that because it is the very end of the school year, it is difficult to do a lot to pay tribute to Cpl. Bouzane. Beyond erecting the current memorial and lowering the flag in front of the school, it is likely that the first school Mass in September will be a memorial Mass for the fallen alumnus. There will also be a memorial set up in the school chapel beginning in September.

Sandborn collaborated with school chaplain Paul Lysaght to write an announcement and prayer that were read over the school’s public address system on June 21. The prayer spoke of sacrifice, peace and eternal rest for those who, like Cpl. Bouzane, had lost their lives in the war.

Minister of National Defence Gordon O’Connor issued a statement on June 20 saying that the deaths of Cpl. Bouzane and his comrades were “not in vain.... Thanks to the bravery of soldiers like Sgt. Karigiannis, Cpl. Bouzane and Pte. Wiebe, we are making great progress in this region and creating a better future for the Afghan people.”

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