One Man’s Heroism Ends Tragic Day, Saves Countless Lives

Ottawa War Memorial

All active duty military and veterans mourn the loss of a fallen brother again this morning. His name is Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, and he was a reservist in the Argylls and Southern Highlanders of Canada Regiment. Cpl. Cirillo was shot and killed yesterday morning while standing guard at the Canadian National War Memorial, which includes the Canadian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The man who shot him has been identified, but is not worthy of comment here or anywhere in civilized society.

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was 24 years old and the father of a son, Marcus, who is just in Kindergarten this year. The unit he was serving in is one of the largest army reserve units in Canada and numbers 250 soldiers. The Argylls are an infantry unit within the Canadian Forces. Cpl. Cirillo was proud to be a part of this unit and his dream was to become a full-time soldier. Yesterday, as he stood duty as a ceremonial guard at the National War Memorial wearing his Highlander regalia, a masked gunman shot him, then reportedly made it to the Parliament Building on Parliament Hill in the heart of Ottawa.

We here at The Veterans Site offer our condolences to Nathan Cirillo’s family and to our Canadian neighbors. Canadian soldiers have sacrificed and served alongside coalition forces in Afghanistan with our own troops and have done so with great distinction and honor. All of us who have served and who are presently serving, experience this loss as a loss of one of our own brothers. We honor Cpl. Nathan Cirillo with our thanks for his service to his country and with our promise to never forget.

A Genuine Public Servant

There is another true hero in this story as well. His name is Kevin Vickers. Mr. Vickers is the 58-year-old, 6-foot-3-inch tall House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms. He is a veteran public servant who is being credited with having killed the man suspected of being the one who shot Cpl. Cirillo, and ending the suspect’s incursion into the main Parliament building. Mr. Vickers is a former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), having served with them for 29 years.

He is being lauded today by the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Stephen Harper, and the Parliamentarians whom he serves. Mr. Vickers has served for the last eight years in this largely ceremonial position at Parliament. Though his duties are ceremonial in nature, he is also armed with a handgun and is ultimately responsible for the building’s security. He was the one who stopped the attack in the hall of the Centre Block, the Parliament’s main building. Mr. Vickers is known as an understated individual, but what he did yesterday showed the bravery, duty, and selflessness of a true hero.

We at The Veterans Site wish to add our thanks and respect to Mr. Kevin Vickers for his selfless service to his people, to their traditions, and to his nation. We thank him for his service in the RCMP and as Sergeant-at-Arms for the Canadian National Parliament. Your neighbors to the south honor your sense of courage and duty.

Image Located at the National War Memorial in Confederation Square in Ottawa, Ontario (photo by Pascal Walschots, CC BY 2.0).

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