He shot all of us that day.
He shot our ancestors, our fathers, our brothers, our husbands, our friends.
He shot our innocence, our ideals, our open hearts, our pride.
But he didn’t win. In fact, he will be but a footnote weeks from now. “that guy” “that lunatic” who opened fire on unarmed men from behind, sadly killing one of them.
And as the life drained from Cpl. Nathan Cirillo on the steps of Parliament Hill, the pride, the resolve, the absolute defiance across the country grew.
Canadians were the Grinch in the days following the shooting.
Our hearts grew five sizes that day.
I vacillated between curl up in a ball sadness, and “don’t mess with me or my country!” rage. It seems we all played the same balancing act. But what we didn’t do? Panic.
We didn’t overreact. We didn’t give in to the calls to shut down our borders and barricade ourselves. In fact we went on with our lives… loudly. A sort of “I dare you” attitude under the surface.
We wore red, and Canadian flags. We made a point of shaking hands with and thanking the men and women who keep our streets and country safe.
And in a profound moment of solidarity, those who could came by the thousands to stand shoulder to shoulder with strangers and friends along the Highway of Heroes to bid farewell to the dedicated young man that now represented the very heart of Canada.
I am still choked up weeks later as we remember all of the solders world wide, who fought and gave their lives to allow us the freedoms we enjoy today.
I am proud. So, so proud.
I’m proud to live in this beautiful country.
I’m proud to call myself a Canadian