Wodensday began black and cold on the west coast, as Odin’s rage lashed the West Coast with the full fury of his storm, but I did not yet know why. Hours later, I learned the source of the Victory Father’s wrath; Cpl Nathan Cirillo who stood guard over the fallen at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial in our nation’s capital in Ottawa.
The rage in the hearts of the folk I work with was terrible to behold. The service folk, current and former that I work along side all hungered for the chance to answer such an insult with blood and fire, but caution was in our words as well, for we who served remember for what we all fought, and for what Cpl Cirillo died; our shared dream of Canada.
Make no mistake, to attack uniformed Canadian soldiers is not an attack aimed at individuals, but at the nation itself, for the crime of being a nation that believes in freedom to believe, to worship, to love, and to dream as you choose. We dare to be one people, though of many roots, embracing differences in the knowledge that each group within our mighty federation brings with it new strength in common cause. That dream is what is being attacked.
I served, as did Cpl Cirillo, because I loved the dream that is Canada, and was ready to embrace the challenges and dangers of service to the Crown for the defense of my fellow citizens. No one joins up to die for Queen and Country, we join up to give back, to stand the watch, as others stood the watch before us, that others could know the freedom that we love so fiercely. Some of our sons and daughters watch will stretch to eternity, for they fell in service. They fell in the service of their nation, in defense of its folk and its freedoms.
In my faith, such are known as Einherjar, the valliant dead gathered to the heroes hall, Valhalla
Vafthruthnirsmal: 41. “The heroes all | in Othin’s hall Each day to fight go forth; They fell each other, | and fare from the fight All healed full soon to sit.”
Every faith recognizes the worth of those who fall in service to the folk, with Christianity giving us the quote “No greater love hath one man, than to give his life for others- John 15:13”
He stood his watch unflinching, and fell in service to his folk. His ancestors will embrace him in all honour. What remains is the question of what we will do in his name. He served, as did all of us, to defend the people, the freedoms, and the dream of Canada. Through wars that felled whole generations, conflicts that scarred the earth for generations, Canada has always been willing to pay the price for our freedom, do not flinch now.
Terrorism requires fear. Canada has never yielded to it. Do not fear to fight hatred with our military might where it threatens the helpless and the peace of nations around the globe. Do not fear to fight hatred dividing our community at home, for the day we choose to sell our freedoms for protection from fear, we become unworthy of the sacrifice of such as Cpl Cirillo. This is a time to be brave enough to come together across our differences, not let our unity go into the grave with our fallen.
The song of my fathers “The Maple Leaf Forever”, the chorus of the anthem of my own service “We Stand On Guard For Thee”. One of our sons is fallen, his watch is done, we must now stand on guard in his place. He died for the dream that is Canada, so in love must we all stand together and be worthy of it.