My personal view of September 11 is “the day the madness escaped”. This week two drops of that madness landed on Canadian soil.
The first drop fell on St Jean-sur-Richelieu last Monday when Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and another soldier were run down by what has been described as a “radicalized” young man. W/O Vincent subsequently died in hospital from his injuries. The driver fled and following a police chase was shot and killed.
This past Wednesday, that second bit of madness came to earth in Ottawa, Ontario, our nation’s capital. Once again a “radicalized” person attacked a member of the military. This time Cpl Nathan Cirillo was shot five times in the back with a 30-30 Winchester as he stood guard at Canada’s National War Memorial. Cpl Cirillo did not survive. Next the shooter invaded the Houses of Parliament where he shot and injured a security guard. He then made his way toward the Parliamentary Library, followed by armed security personnel.
The Parliamentary Sergeant-at-Arms heard the gunfire, took his weapon (a 9mm if you’re curious) and stepped into the hallway. Seeing he had a clear shot at the intruder, he threw himself prone and fired at least three shots, one of which hit the shooter in the head. More on the Sergeant-at-Arms later.
Within the past three weeks I read an article that stated ISIS or ISIL had, through social media, urged these “radicalized” youth and would-be jihadists to launch individual attacks on the military, going so far as to suggest running them down. Unfortunately someone listened.
Now, back to our Sergeant-at-Arms. The post was originally created in England about 800 years ago for the express purpose of protecting Parliament. In Canada the post is currently held by Kevin Vickers, A former RCMP officer. We Canadians are more accustomed to seeing him perform his ceremonial duties, such as carrying the Mace into the House of Commons, but he also controls a security staff of about 3,000 people. He is also obviously an excellent shot.
The military has gone so far as to strongly urge – not order – personnel not to wear their uniforms unless they are going to or from work. While they are complying, many men are not happy and I don’t blame them. When I was in the army, I was proud to be a Sapper in the Royal Canadian Engineers and wore that uniform whenever circumstances allowed. And when I finished my regular service and joined the militia, I just as proudly wore the uniform of a Lance-Corporal in the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.
Patrice Vincent and Nathan Cirillo. Remember their names. As for those who so callously ended their lives, let their names lie forgotten in the dustbin of history.
Support our troops, both at home and abroad.