The events surrounding the regimental funeral for Corporal Nathan Cirillo have begun in his hometown of Hamilton. The procession to Christ’s Church Cathedral is winding its way through the downtown of the city and Hamiltonians, as well as non-residents who wish to honour Corporal Cirillo are lining the streets in tribute.
The Prime Minister and Mrs. Harper will be in the Cathedral for the funeral, as will NDP and Liberal leaders Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau. The Premier of Ontario, Lieutenant-Governor, members of parliament, senior military officers and of course family and close friends of Corporal Cirillo will all be attending the service.
As the procession is winding its way through the streets, it is heartbreaking to see Corporal Cirillo’s five year old son walking behind his Daddy’s casket.
The people of Hamilton are proud of their military sons and daughters. I’ve talked about this on air. I lived and broadcast in Hamilton for many years and about 20 years ago, each November 11, we at 900 CHML began to air three hours of Remembrance Day tribute live from the cenotaph in the downtown core. The broadcasts included airing the entire 11th hour ceremony. Attendance was initially perhaps a thousand or so people wishing to pay their respects and in many, perhaps most cases honour the memory of family who fought in uniform to defend this nation and our values.
By our third year the downtown core surrounding the cenotaph was filled with many thousands of area residents and the two school boards in the city sent a delegation of one thousand students.
Today Canadians from coast to coast to coast will participate in their own way and pay personal respects.
This nation is in mourning for a young man who died while himself honouring those who lives ended in Canada’s military service, defending with their lives the ideals of freedom and democracy which have shaped who we are.
Rest in peace Corporal Cirillo. You will not be forgotten.