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A couple embraces at the foot of the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario, Oct. 23. Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a Canadian soldier, was shot and killed the previous day while on duty at the nearby National War Memorial. CNS photo/Cole Burston, EPA

We are all His own

  • November 6, 2014

Two days before its crews tidied up the National War Memorial in Ottawa on All Souls Day, Public Works Canada issued an advisory that flowers and other mementos would be removed. 

It was a respectful thing to do given the shock that reverberated through the nation’s capital from the events of Oct. 22, especially the coldblooded murder of reserves Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. The public was assured that objects and arrangements would be treated with care and donated appropriately. The purpose was made clear: with Remembrance Day looming, the Memorial required preparation to mark the deaths of all who have sacrificed their lives serving Canada. 

Obviously, on Nov. 11, the deaths of Cpl. Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent (murdered in Quebec) will be a dominant part of national cenotaph ceremonies. Yet the pressing need to clean the scene so quickly, though understandable and properly handled, was a stark reminder of how rapidly focus shifts in our short-attention-span era. 

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