Our nation has been lucky for a great many years.
Unlike the majority of countries around the world, terrorist acts, domestic or foreign, are rare in this country. But we got a wake-up call Wednesday when an armed man killed a soldier guarding the National War Memorial in Ottawa and then moved on to Parliament. House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers killed the gunman before he could kill anyone else, but the message here is clear.
We are not immune.
As we praise Vickers and mourn Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, there is a looming question of what the future holds for us as a country and a people in the coming days. Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, summed it up well.
“It is a day of tragedy. We must ensure we keep our responses proportionate to whatever threat remains.”
However horrific this incident is, it shouldn’t be allowed to change Canada’s character as a nation devoted to peace and striving, however uncertainly, toward a just society.
Too many countries, including our neighbour to the south, have gone down the road of letting national security trump human rights.
But come this Remembrance Day, along with the usual observances, be sure to set aside a few extra moments to remember both Cpl. Cirillo, senselessly killed in the performance of his duties and Vickers, who prevented further tragedy.
–Penticton Western News